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orthodoxy had become so excessive, and went so effectually to extirpate every honest citizen from the earth,that it became absolutely necessary for civil ruJers 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 discerning 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 manners 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 flofiery, obscene monkery, and the barbarous inquisition; and thus to revive and continue, under a new dispensation of civil and religious government, the dark and deflorable reign of Antichrist.
CHRIST's SECOND APPEARING.
THE GR.A.W.D DIVISION IN THE KIWGDOAf
The Cause and first Means of Reforming the Catholic
REFORMATION of the doctrines, worship, esar. TV. discipline, and government of the corrupt body, i.
church or kingdom of Antichrist, and a restitution T” 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, order, 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 promised, 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 alteration 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.
B. b. 2
Eeek, his*ory, vol. iv, p. 38.
mist. of Charlesw vol. ii. p. 192.
nated from its first founders' firotesting against the
neering party, by emperors and general councils, has ** been sufficiently proved to be not only false, but totally corrupt in every part. 10. 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 tree 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 Essl.us. his history on the times of the Reformation, which toroyo: he very properly calls, times of discord. Yet this is . *** denominated the Blessed Reformation. 12. 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 ...?. * Lutherans were greatly assistcd, both in correcting * 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. *4. Dr. Maclaine, speaking of the first reformers,