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RACY was actually formed for the extinction of Chriftianity, and the abolition of
Government and Social Order, by a fet of men whofe names demand the execration of mankind. They prove, incontrovertibly prove (or neither the fcheme nor its fuccefs could find belief in any rational mind untainted with its poison), that the SYSTEM eftablished for the execution of this plan was extended to every country, with unexampled perfeverance, art, and fecrecy, and threatened univerfal ruin; that this Syftematic confpiracy has been the MAIN SPRING of the revolution in France; and that the POWER created by this revolution has, in return, become its chief Support and coadjutor. This fimple. statement will, I truft, recal to the reader's mind the interpretation of "the fecond beaft and his image," which was offered to his confideration in the Introductory Chapter. And he will readily perceive, that I have mentioned the unconnected evidence of Barruel and Robifon as particular confirmation of this idea, because thefe writers have beft difplayed that union of fraud with force, which conftitutes and distinguishes this Antichriftian power. They beft have proved this new philofophy, as it is called, to breathe
as rank a spirit of perfecution against Christianity itself, as ever disgraced the name of Religion in the form of Popish bigotry. They best have shown the connexion between Infidelity and Civil tyranny, fo long denied, but now made vifible to the aftonished world. They best therefore have proved, without the slightest reference to the fubject, the exact fulfilment of the Prophecies respecting this extraordinary Antichristian power.
The amazing prevalence of Infidelity has indeed engaged the attention of many earlier writers; for fince the establishment of Christianity it has never appeared fo formidable as in the prefent age: but it was not till confidence of fuccefs emboldened Condorcet to publish in 1785, the “secret correfpondence" of the mafter movers of the plan, that the public mind received the smallest intimation of the Cause. Nor did it then, unhappily, give credit to the extent of its exiftence, or the poffibility of its fuccefs. In this country the dif covery was fcarcely noticed; though an excellent Prelate, whofe ardent zeal in the cause of Christianity is united with genuine philanthropy, endeavoured in 1794,
to direct the attention of the public to this diabolical confpiracy against the religion and the happiness of man. • An epifcopal
Charge will, however, be confined to a certain clafs of Readers. The alarm was given to religionists, but not to Statesmen, till events, incredible before they actually took place, excited general astonishment, and led men eagerly to feek their origin. And at this moment of enquiry, Barruel and Robifon laid before the public a mass of facts, which most fatisfactorily traced thefe events to the machinations of focieties formed for the express purpose of producing them.
But Voltaire conceived his horrible defign about the year 1720; and the sect of the Illuminati, a fpecimen of its effects, was founded in 1776. The question therefore recurs, what could give rise to these focicties? and how can we account for the fuccefs of their fchemes? It must be acknowledged, that the ideas of Infidelity, which had long been floating in the world, were first embodied into a practical System of wickedness by Voltaire, d'Alembert, Fre
See the Bishop of London's Charge to his Clergy.
deric II. King of Pruffia, Diderot, and their confederates in iniquity; and that the difciples of this junto first gained the CIVIL POWER to aid and openly avow adherence to the caufe of Infidelity. But I think we may venture to affirm, that at no other period of the world could this fyftem have been formed, or this power created. And having already shown that this is exactly the period affigned by the prophetic word of God for the appearance of the "fecond beaft and his image," we are authorized to affert, that the prefent reign of the Infidel Antichrift has been expressly foretold.
Still, however, it will be afked, why fhould this period produce this monstrous progeny? This question involves such a variety of matter fo fecretly connected, that any thing like accurate investigation would exceed the limits of a chapter. But I fhall endeavour to point out the principal caufes; and these will, I think, conduct us to the only adequate explanation.
See Barruel, p. 334.
See Introductory Chapter, vol. i. p. 387, and 405.
A writer, who confiders himself as an advocate for Christianity, whilst he is labouring to remove its foundations, asserts, that "the great father of modern unbelievers among Mahometans and Chriftians, was Averroes, a Saracen Mahometan of the twelfth century." He was devoted to the philofophy of Ariftotle, whose writings are faid to have made all the unbelievers in the age of Petrarch and that of Leo the tenth. He held "the eternity of the world, and the existence of one univerfal intellect, the fource of all human intelligence, into which every separate intelligence will finally be refolved; and, confequently he denied the diftinct existence and proper immortality of the human foul." The Arabian impofture may be thus confidered as the father, but furely Infidelity was brought forth by "the mother of harlots." When the revival of letters enabled men to fee the mafs of abfurdities, contradictions, and impieties, which were taught by the church of Rome to be effential parts of Christianity, Scepticifm was the natural refult of this difcovery. Rea
d Priestley's Difcourfes on the Evidences of Revealed Religion.