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But, though their Bible is the only sure foundation upon which all true Protestants build every article of the faith which they profess, and every point of doctrine which they teach; and though all other foundations, whether they be the decisions of councils, the confessions of churches, the prescripts of Popes, or the expositions of private men, are considered by them as sandy and unsafe, or as in no wise to be ultimately relied on. Yet, on the other hand, they do by no means fastidiously reject them as of no use; for while they admit the Bible, or the Scriptures of the Old and New Testament, to be the only infallible rule by which we must measure the truth or falsehood of every religious opinion, they are sensible that all men are not equally fitted to apply this rule; and that the wisest men want, on many occasions, all the helps of human learning to enable them to understand its precise nature, and to define its certain extent. These helps are great and numerous, having been supplied in every age of the church, by the united labours of learned men in every country; and I may add, particularly, in Protestant communions.

the middle of the 17th century, had himself embraced the doctrines of the Church of Rome, through the influence of the noted Fisher, the Jesuit ; but on mature deliberation, and more full examination, he returned to the communion of the Church of England, and being severely attacked by the adherents of the Church of Rome whom he had de. serted, he vindicated his conduct and the religion which he now embraced, in an able work, entitled, “ The Religion of Protestants, a safe way to Salvation ;" which see bound up with his sermons in folio.

See also Fell's “ Four Letters on genuine Protestantism," and an excellent defence of Protestantism by Dr. Sturges, in his answer to Mr., now Bishop, Milner, who, in his “ History of Winchester," takes every opportunity of reprobating the Protestant religion, and of erecting on its ruins his beloved edifice of Popery.

For the different sentiments of Protestants, in regard to the object of religious worship, see below, p. 104. &c. &c.

WORSHIP, CHURCH GOVERNMENT, AND DisCIPLINE.–For information on these heads, with respect to each of which they differ as widely as on points of doctrine, recourse must be had to the same heads in the account here given of the different and various denominations, great and small, into which the Protestant world is now divided. It may, however, be observed here, that all Protestants profess to abhor idolatry; and that the greater part of them worship the Trinity in unity, and use a Liturgy, or form of prayer, while others use no form, and both the Arians and Socinians confine their worship to God the Father. It may also be observed, that two sects of Protestants (the Moravians and Swedenborgians) address all their prayers to Jesus Christ. *

With regard to Church Government, however widely they may differ in other respects, all Protestants agree in rejecting an universal visible supreme head of the church, together with the in

* See above, Vol. I. p. 233.

fallibility of any church governors or councils whatsoever, from the days of the Apostles; and all their clergy are seculars.

They all, I believe, likewise agree in adopting the principle of the independency of every church in its national character, as subject to no‘spiritual head but Christ;-as conceding no superiority, and claiming no pre-eminence of jurisdiction;—as authorised to frame its own laws, and to regulate its own government. *

NUMBERS, COUNTRIES WHERE FOUND, AuTHORS FOR AND AGAINST, &c.--Archbishop Tillotson, in his sermon on Josh. 24. 15. says, that the Reformed, thereby meaning Protestants of all denominations, are “not much unequal to the Romanists” in point of numbers; but this is far beyond the common calculation, which allows only from 44, to 50,000,000 to the number of Protestants, while the members of the Church of Rome are reckoned at about twice that number.

The truth, it is likely, may be found between these; and perhaps there might be no great mistake in supposing their numbers to stand nearly in the ratio of three to four; or in reckoning the Protestants to be about 65,000,000, and the Roman Catholics about 80,000,000.

On the Continent of Europe, the Protestants are divided into two grand denominations :--the Lutherans, who adhere to Luther's tenets, and the Reformed, who follow the doctrine and discipline of Geneva. Together with these, this vast class comprehends the Huguenots in France; the Refugees in Holland; the members of the establishments and the Protestant dissenters of all descriptions in Great Britain and Ireland, together with a numerous body of Christians in North America, the West and East Indies, &c.

* See the articles Episcopacy, Presbyterianism, and Independency, below.

Before the late Revolution, the Protestants in France were supposed to amount to 2,000,000 or upwards, though they then had no legal toleration, and almost their only seminary was a private, and merely tolerated, one at Lausanne in Switzerland. But from some recent statements, it appears, that Protestantism is now reviving in various parts of the French dominions. By the union of Geneva, and of the German provinces on the left bank of the Rhine, a very considerable addition is made to the number of Protestant subjects to France. They now enjoy full liberty of conscience and worship, and of propagating their system to the utmost of their power; and they have a provision from the state, at least equal to that of the parochial clergy, &c. i. e. an allowance in the country places of about 1001. a year, and in cities and large towns, of about double that sum.

A seminary is also proposed to be established for them, and it is meant that the expenditure attending it, shall be defrayed by means of voluntary contributions and annual charity sermons, throughout the Protestant community in France.

The Protestants in the south of the Low Countries are said to be far more numerous than the Roman Catholics; but in the northern departments, they are only found scattered up and down. Here, we are told, the people have the most contemptible notions of Protestantism, and converts are seldom made from the Church of Rome, but the number of Protestants remain nearly the same, without any apparent accession or diminution.*

Indeed, notwithstanding the toleration of Protestantism in the French dominions, and some other favourable signs of the times, considering the late great prevalence of infidelity, and the consequent diminution of true and vital religion on the continent of Europe, it may be questioned whether the Protestant Churches there be in a flourishing state, or in circumstances of discouragement and distress. Some persons of knowledge and discernment are much inclined to the latter opinion, and remark that the witnesses there are still prophesying in sackcloth,

—that the mystical woman is still in the wilderness, and—that to them it is a matter of doubt, whether pure religion has ever been at a lower ebb, since the days of the Waldenses, than it is at present, with the exception of Great Britain, and perhaps of Sweden. This, however, will be considered by most people, as viewing the subject in too unfavourable a light; but being in some measure a matter of fact and observation, every reader is left to judge for himself.

* See Worseley's Account of France.

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