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life; and to leave us under an arbitrary servitude to the pope, who may add every day to our obligations, and make somewhat necessary to our salvation which our fathers were saved without: a jurisdiction the high priest never pretended to have, who was the supreme magistrate well known, and whose power was confessed by and known to all the Jews; whereas he who would assume this power over us, and will condemn the most pious and devout observer of all the actions which he is commanded to perform, and which is the soul of religion, (if St James knew what it is) if he cannot conform himself to an opinion which he hath prescribed; and who is neither named, nor described to us in the scheme of our religion, to have any such trust, nor acknowledged by us to have such power. So that we love our country too well to quit it, and our countrymen too much to drive them from us; but if they love their coun: try so little, as to believe it to be the sink of ungodly and condemned souls, which cannot be without a stench very infectious, and all their neighbours, friends, kindred, and allies, to be the objects of God's eternal wrath, because they will not be subject to him, whom he hath not ordained to rule over them; they have no reason to be fond of such a residence, but have all the obligations of charity towards themselves and others, if they
can have any charity for themselves who are without it for all others, to quit the country, and abandon and make haste out of that air which they are sure is so contagious.
It remains then, that we disarm them of one weapon which this charity of ours hath put into their hands, and with which they endeavour to wound us, and have, it may be, prevailed more than by any other instrument out of their own ma. gazine: if theirs be a church in which they may be saved, why should it not be safe, say they, if not desirable, for any who is out of it, to come into it, by changing and renouncing the religion they are of that is contrary to the other, leave the church of England to get into that of Rome? There are in all churches, as well as in all men, many errors, and all errors are not of the same magnitude, nor liable to the same penalty; there are errors which in themselves are so pernicious, that they are not consistent with piety or probity; and there are errors from which worse consequences may be drawn than he knows, or intends, or comprehends, who is guilty of the error ; and the latter is much less than the former. Many men are seduced, or over-reached, or directly cozened into erroneous opinions, and they are not so criminal as they who pervert and cozen them. In a word, many men fall into errors by accident or inadvertence, or want
of understanding, and endeavour all they can to be better informed; and the condition of these men is much better than theirs who seek after them, and affect them as arguments which may advance their credit and reputation, and obstinately defend them to comply with their ambition, or to improve their interest. Let us then consider the difference, even in the reasonable hope of salvation, between those who depart from the church of England in which they have been bred, and to which they have made many vows and promises, and those who were never of that church, nor know the true constitution of it, but have been educated in the church of Rome; what the former wants and are without for their justification and excuse, which the others have; and what faults the one must commit in the act or circumstance of changing his religion, which the other is free from; and then we shall the better discern what indulgence we may piously hope may be gi. ven to the one, and what severity we may fear justly will be exercised upon the other. I will not say, that which a great doctor of the church of Rome affirms, and says it is very plain, that it be longeth truly to the nature of religion to be propagated in mankind by discipline, and delivery over from father to son, and to be embraced in the mere virtue of such a reception, through the na.
tural credulity of children to their parents and "teachers; yet I may say, that the education is very evil, and the discipline very loose, and the parents very negligent, if there are not such impressions of religion made by it, be they good or ill, that they will not be defaced, or easily be rooted out by the infusion from riper years, especially if their sole conversation afterwards be confined to persons of the same interest and principles. It is very true, that there may be such incongruities instilled in those infant seasons; as that God can do, or suffer such things to flow immediately from himself, as are inconsistent with his justice, or mercy, or such attributes as he hath prescribed to be known by; or when the grounds upon which they are taught to believe are found to be erroneous by the improvement of natural science, or are contradicted by those faculties which God hath made superior to such infusions, and the natural judges of the reason of such infusions : from such gross particulars, the very growth of years, and the increase of judgment which cannot but accompany those years, with a little reading and revolving, though in a cell, men do frequently disentangle themselves without any other help: as he that hath been persuaded by his nurse that he was always nourished with black milk, cannot but be. lieve it, as long as he believes her; but when he
comes to find that there is no black milk, and knows that there was never any, he does not only know that his nurse abused him, but doth justly suspect the truth of whatsoever else she hath in. formed him. All other things, which do not carry in themselves a visible disapprovement, are insensibly inculcated by education, and innocently retained, without obliging the thousandth part of Christians to make any further enquiry into the truth of them, having neither faculties to judge, nor reason to believe, that they can be better informed, than they have been by those who bred them : and of this excuse and justification that proselyte is deprived, who leaves the church of England, wherein he hath been educated, to cast himself into the arms of the church of Rome, where he hath been a stranger.
The church of Rome is so unreasonably vigilant and jealous of its flock, that it will not suffer even those who are intelligent and learned, to read any books which may inform them better; or, if they could prevent it, to converse with those who do not think as they do ; and before they qualify any persons to teach and instruct the people, they are compelled to enter into many obligations of adhering to parties, and to interests, which the catholic religion exacts not from them, nor approves; and so they become more of the faction of the