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orthodoxy had become so excessive, and went so ef. CHAP. fectually to extirpate every honest citizen from the earth ,that it became absolutely necessary for civil rulers to interpose for the preservation of mankind, and rescue the world from speedy and final ruin.
48. But without some religious pretext, the devotees of Papal power would have remained forever deaf to the voice of reason; hence the most discern. ing among the priesthood, who perceived the necessity of a revolution, were ready, as soon as opportunity offered, to furnish the rulers of the earth with a new scheme of religion, as the mainspring of their reforming enterprize.
49. Schisms were common in the Catholic church, Many, at different periods, had grown weary of the superstitious, and bloody religion of the priests, had protested against it, and adopted sentiments and manRers better suited to honest citizens of the earth. Such had laid a sufficient foundation for an appeal to patriarchal authority in favour of a revolution.
50. Sufficient matter was also furnished for an enterprizing priesthood to form a new system of orthodoxy, more rational and consistent in the eyes of a long deceived multitude, than barefaced popery, obscene monkery, and the barbarous inquisition; and thus to revive and continue, under a new dispensation of civil and religious government, the dark and deplora. ble reign of Antichrist.
CHRIST's SECOND APPEARING.
THE GRAND DIVISION IN THE KINGDOM
The Cause and first Means of Reforming the Catholic
REFORMATION of the doctrines, worship, ena
discipline, and government of the corrupt body, church or kingdom of Antichrist, and a restitution of all that order and glory, which God by his holy prophets, promised to accomplish in the latter-day, are two very different things.
2. It has been made manifest, that the faith, or. der, and power, together with the whole truth and simplicity of the true and genuine church of Christ; was totally supplanted and trodden under foot by this false and corrupt church ; and no promise either of a reformation or restitution of the false was ever given ; but a full restitution of the true was promi. sed, though not to take place until Christ should make his second appearance.
3. Therefore, what has generally passed under the name of the Reformation, implies no other altera ation in the church that then existed, than a mere change of form ; and a reformation, or forming a thing over again, may either be for the better or for the worse.
4. The Protestant Reformed Church, which took its rise early in the sixteenth century, is so denomi
CHAP. nated from its first founders' protesting against the
authority and form of government practised by the pope ; while they proceeded to build up the same people, in the same faith, upon another plan of governinent.
5. And from the fruitful invention of these reformers and their successors, innumerable forms of government have been contrived, sects, parties, and churches formed, all differing from, and protesting against their Mother Church, and against each other; yet all pretending to be the one church of Christ.
6. The protest was by no means entered against the catholic church, nor was her orthodoxy ever called in question, until the division was completed, and the reforming party had gained sufficient strength to claim a right to the same power and authority with which the church universal had been vested.
7. Nor even then, was it ever maintained, by the promoters of the Protestant cause, that the catholic church was not the true orthodox church previous to this revolution : as may appear from what is stated
by Dr. Mosheim, concerning LUTHER, namely: Leel. Hiyo that, “ he separated himself only from the church of iv. p. 52 • Rome, which considers the pope as infallible,
6 and not from the church, considered in a more ex• tensive sense ; for he submitted to the decision of
the universal for catholic] church, when that decision should be given in a general council lawfully 6 assembled.”
8. Now this general council, Luther affirmed to Charles y be the representative of the Catholic Church; and
therefore must have considered it, as representing the orthodox church, as much as the council of Nice had done ; so that the protest in no wise respected the church, but her head ; and hence it necessarily followed, that the only point to be decided between the reforming party and the pope, was, Who should be the head ; or in other words, Which of them should be the greatest.
9. The kingdom of Antichrist was full of animosities and divisions from the beginning; and by those divisions, and a thirst for temporal glory and dominion, the church that was established for the domi
neering party, by emperors and general councils, has CHAP. been sufficiently proved to be not only false, but totally corrupt in every part.
io. The first founders of the Reformation taught no new doctrine different from what had been established in the general councils of this corrupt church. Nor had they any divine authority for their conduct ; but were actuated by the suggestions of their own natural sagacity and carnal wisdom, as the school philosophers, emperors and popes had been before them. From whence then, could any reformation arise for the better, to a church manifestly false, and wholly corrupt, both in its head and members ? An evil trec cannot bring forth good fruit.
11. Hence we see among the first fruits of the Reformation, that, instead of putting an end to those scandalous debates and animosities, which had continued in the church for many ages, divisions and sectaries increased and multiplied from day to day. This may be seen in Dr. Mosheim's introduction to his history on the times of the Reformation, which tory, vol.
iv. P. 3,4, he very properly calls, times of discord. Yet this is 5. denominated the Blessed Reformation.
· 127 It is not even pretended that the first reformers had any divine authority for their conduct. This is evident from the plain declarations of their most able defenders, who pointedly discard the very idea of their being actuated by any extraordinary illuminations of the Spirit of God, or claiming any other light or power than that which had all along been preserved in the church.
13. Dr. Mosheim says, “ They were conducted on• ly by the suggestions of their natural sagacity. The 294, 295. · Lutherans were greatly assisted, both in correcting 6 and illustrating the articles of their faith, partly by * the controversies they were obliged to carry on with * the Roman Catholic doctors, and the disciples of • Zuingle and Calvin, and partly by the intestine di- visions that reigned among themselves.” If contentions and divisions are the effects of the true gospel, then a fountain may, at the same place, send forth both salt water and fresh. : 14. Dr. Maclaine, speaking of the first reformers,