Front Page Titles (by Subject) Number IV.: Persecution and Cruelty, Marks of Apostasy from Christianity. The Doctrine of Transubstantiation, how impious and impossible. The Inconsistency, Impotence, and Absurdity of all Popish Miracles. - The Independent Whig, vol. 4 (1747)
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Number IV.: Persecution and Cruelty, Marks of Apostasy from Christianity. The Doctrine of Transubstantiation, how impious and impossible. The Inconsistency, Impotence, and Absurdity of all Popish Miracles. - Thomas Gordon, The Independent Whig, vol. 4 (1747) 
The Independent Whig. Being a Collection of Papers All written, some of them published During the Late Rebellion (London: J. Peele, 1747). Vol. 4.
Part of: The Independent Whig, 4 vols.
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Persecution and Cruelty, Marks of Apostasy from Christianity. The Doctrine of Transubstantiation, how impious and impossible. The Inconsistency, Impotence, and Absurdity of all Popish Miracles.
A Religion which damns all Others, exposes itself at first Sight to be suspected of Imposture, as it breathes a Spirit so opposite to the Spirit of the Gospel. Nothing but the clearest and most express Warrant from the Mouth of God, can excuse any Man for pronouncing such a horrid Sentence against another Man: The very Name of the Man, as well as the Name of his Maker, ought to be seen in that Warrant. No less Authority will do: Whoever pretends to it, impiously apes the Almighty; presumes to do, in the Name of God, what God himself never did; and impudently practises a Cheat covered and recommended under the Name and Attributes of Truth and Piety.
These blaspheming Impostors usurp the Place of Almighty God, and act like Satan in it. They turn Religion into a Trade, and damn all that refuse to deal with Them, and Them only. This Charm and the Gains they make of it, are Symptoms of a Spirit truly Worldly and Devilish, of wicked Combination and Mountebankry, destructive of all Religion, and of all human Liberty; a Design which none but the most unrelenting Tyrants can Attempt, and which the most successful Tyranny can never Accomplish.
It is against common Reason, ’tis against the Wisdom and Mercy of God, and indeed against all his Attributes, and very Essence, to presume, that he divests himself (All wise and Infallible as he is!) of his indispensable Power of eternal Rewards and Punishments, which He only is able to inflict and bestow; and transfers the same to any frail human Creature, subject to constant Weakness, Passions, and Folly, as all human Creatures are. To suppose that he does so, is an Imputation of Wantonness or Frenzy, upon the Deity, as if he contrived to make Sport of the Creation, and render Men Dupes and Slaves to one another; as if he delighted in exalting Pride, and oppressing Innocence; delighted in the Tyranny and wicked Craft of One or a Few; and in the Delusion and Vassalage of all the Rest.
Whom has the Almighty created resembling himself, able to dictate, without Opposition, in his Name, or to exercise his infinite Power without Appeal? How much the Popes are unlike him, or rather, how profanely most of them have belyed him, and how absolutely renounced his Rules and Laws, I have shewn in a former. The best of them were Counterfeits, all Usurpers, assuming all Earthly, indeed all Heavenly Power, to which no earthly Creature was equal, or indeed had any Pretence. Did it appear upon their Election, that they had then gained one Ability or Talent, which they had not before, or lost one Failing which they had before? The Father of Christendom, the infallible Guide of Christians, the unerring Vicar of Jesus Christ, instead of better, grew generally worse, more addicted to sinful Pursuits, more Proud, more Unforgiving, more Craving, less Merciful, and less and less resembled our Blessed Saviour. The same Behaviour, (still continued, or a worse) inferred the same Character still to continue, or to grow worse, and consequently the Vanity and extreme Impropriety, and even Forgery of his new Titles. His Infallibility was a flagrant Jest and Imposition. As Infallibility implies the present Aid of the Divine Spirit, which does not hesitate, nor proceed by Examination, nor stay for better Lights; it was plain that the Pope had no such Aid; for he always acted in Form in all perplexed Questions, called Consistories from time to time; consulted learned Men; put off the Decision from Year to Year; sometimes durst not decide at all, and sometimes decided wrong: At least, the next infallible Head (his Successor) was in the Wrong, by deciding it a contrary Way. For it, was no new Thing for Pope to contradict Pope, and to curse one another, each of them always first invoking the Holy Ghost.
The Infallibility of Councils is equally ridiculous; and so were many of their Decisions, generally carried by Balloting, often by Faction, sometimes by Fighting; the Members cursing and contradicting one another; and guided, or rather infatuated and inflamed, by the worst and most unchristian Passions.
Infallibility is not to be found amongst Men; it is one of the Perfections of God, peculiar and incommunicable; whoever claims it, may with the same Craziness, or from the same Craft and impious Purpose, claim Omnipotence. Whoever is subject to Sin, is subject to Error: Are not all Men subject to Sin? Have there been greater Sinners than the Popes? And are Offenders against the Majesty of God, and the Purity of the Gospel, proper Vehicles of Godlike Infallibility, or proper Explainers of the Gospel, of itself so plain as to want no Explanation, at least for Gospel Ends; and it is profaned, when wrested to any other! Who can discover the Simplicity of the Gospel in the various and intricate Grimaces of the Mass, or any of the meek Gospel Spirit in such as follow the Mass?
TheMass, like the Whole of Popery, is invented and calculated for the Exaltation and Profit of the Popish Clergy, and to bind, and blind, and plunder the Laity. What can be added to the Imposture of creating God by consecrating Bread, but that it is the highest Blasphemy that ever shocked the Reason of Man, or gave the Lye to Demonstration, and the Five Senses? Other Impostors have devised lying Genealogie; for the Eternal Being, related false Wonders about him, pretended great Interest in him, with a Power to mollify or inflame him, and got a good Livelihood out of him, with suitable Reverence from Dupes and the Rabble, and were always striving to frighten such as they could not persuade nor plague; but none of them pretended to make the Deity by a Word. To Popish Cheats, falsly call’d Catholics, the Glory hath been reserved of surpassing the highest Cheats in Paganism, as well as the highest Cruelty and the most extravagant Forgeries of Pagans. Holy Lyes and holy Rage, generally found necessary to support all pious Impostures, are essentially so to uphold the greatest of all.
For a Creature to create the Eternal Creator of all Things, is a wonderful Falshood to assert, and impossible to be believed, as it is a Contradiction too glaring to be conceived by the Heart of Man, or to be uttered by any Mouth, where the Mind is not first awed by Terrors, or intoxicated by Delusions, or corrupted by Craft. Can they believe in God, who assert, that the One God can be eaten Whole by Millions, every Day, can be created and renewed and multiplied daily, and still remain One God? Yet, with these Omnipotent Blasphemers, it is Atheism to deny his Multiplication; so that it is at once Atheism to doubt his Unity, and Atheism to deny that he may be new-created every Hour, and a Box of consecrated Wafers contains a Host of Gods, all one and the same God. Could the Wit of Demons invent higher or more profane Mockery? Nor would it be higher Mockery in these shameless Conjurers to pretend to annihilate their Creator. They might wrest a Text as literally to their Purpose. Has not our Blessed Saviour said to his Disciples, A littlewhile, and ye shall not see me? A Text tending as much to the Power of the Priest in unmaking God, as the other Text, from whence they would derive Power to make God.
What reasonable Man, what Christian Man, would be of a Church where this is the prime Article of Faith, and where Damnation is denounced against all who doubt it? Who would hear, much less follow, such dreadful Guides, who maintain such impious Contradictions, and burn all who will not profess a sacred Lye and Impossibility, which is an Affront to the Deity, an Insult upon the Almighty, or rather a Denial of his Existence?
A Piece of Bread, Bread to the Sight, Bread to the Touch, Taste and Smell, becomes at once, in the Logic of Priests, and by their Legerdemain, the Almighty and Immutable God, and is sliced into infinite Gods: Though they impudently maintain, that they believe no more than One God; yet would burn you alive, if you question’d daily their Power and Practice of creating Gods without Number.
They practise the same barefaced Inconsistency in their Treatment of Saints, Male and Female; some of them Idiots, many of them Murderers, most of them Mad, all unblessed with Christian Charity. They fear and adore these Saints; pray to these Saints; compliment these Saints with Offerings and Divine Praises; ascribe Divine Attributes, Power and Miracles to these Saints; yet deny that they worship Saints.
Methinks that Men thus Omnipotent, possess’d with Power to Damn and Save, and enabled by the Deity to make their Maker, should condescend, for the Conviction of Gainsayers, to do some Miracles of a lower and easier Nature; such as the creating a Fly, or ordering a dead Insect to live; such as animating a Corpse, as well as deifying a Wafer; ordering a common Lock to open, or a common Door to shut, as readily as they do the mighty Gates of Heaven and Hell; for these last are Miracles which they pretend to work daily.
They indeed tell us of other Miracles wrought by their Saints; but we desire to see them wrought. Nor can they with any Face complain of our want of Faith, whilst we reasonably complain of their want of Miracles. What less than Miracles can prove the miraculous Power which they pretend to exercise, their marvellous Mysteries, and incredible Operations? If they can damn a Heretic by a Word, why not imprison and punish him by the same Word? If they can open Heaven to a suffering Catholic, perhaps imprisoned for the meritorious Offence of commiting Treason for the Service of the Holy Church, against an heretical State, why not order the Prison Doors to fly open, to the Releasment of the pious Catholic, and to the Confusion of his heretical Judges and Persecutors? Why not award Heretics to Death, by the Word of Command, as well as to Hell? Why not command Heretics to the Stake and the Gallows, or command the Stake and the Gallows to burn or hang Heretics? Such Exertion of Power and Orthodoxy would soon frighten Heresy out of the Land, and re-establish the Catholic Faith, Unity and Revenues, with Renown and Triumph.
A famous Impostor amongst the Jews, and one of their Messiahs (for the poor People have had many, and none without Followers) Sabatai Sevi by Name, the Deliverer of Israel by Profession, undertook to restore the whole Nation to Canaan, with a high Hand, and heavenly Power and Wonders. He gain’d easy Belief and numerous Adherents, some of them in the Stile of Prophets, confirming his Divine Mission, and foretelling miraculous Effects and Events forthwith to ensue. Great Commotions followed; the Turkish Divan was alarmed, and sent for the Impostor: He was put in Irons, yet still asserted his own Divine Character; though he, who was to release and re-establish a Nation, could not release himself. His bewitched Followers too still believed in him, averred what Miracles he wrought, and prophesied that he was to dethrone the Grand Seignior, and even to drag him along in Chains. That Monarch ordered him into his Presence, and with Imperial Brevity offered him his Choice, either to work a present Miracle, or to turn Turk, or to be impaled alive. Sabatai, unable to comply with the first, and not liking the third, made no Scruple of the second; he declared himself a Mahometan without Hesitation, and thenceforward laboured to convert the Jews to Mahometism, a Change he alleged necessarily previous to their final Restoration. As a Proof of the strange Force of Delusion, his Followers still believed in him, even after such open, such avowed Apostasy: They said Sabatai was carried up into Heaven, and a Dæmon had assumed the Shape and white Hair of the old Man, on purpose to disgrace him.
Transubstantiation is the most wonderful Miracle that ever was wrought; and if it be false, the pretended Authors of it are the greatest Impostors that ever pretended to Miracles, as all Impostors do. I would only have such as pretend to maintain it, either to abjure their daring Pretences, or to work a small Miracle. If they perform any Miracle before competent Witnesses, we Protestants may venture to turn Papists: If they can work none, we ought to expect their Conversion to Protestantism. We have no Authority but their Word for the mighty Miracle of Transubstantiation; Human Reason, and the Five Senses, which alone attest and confirm other Miracles, contradict this. We offer them no painful Alternative; we call for no Impaling, no Racks, nor Dungeons; though these be their last and most conclusive Arguments to us.