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UPON A LATE PAMPHLET,
CHRISTIAN LIBERTY ASSERTED,
SCRIPTURE DOCTRINE OF THE TRINITY VINDICATED,
A CLERGYMAN IN THE COUNTRY.
MATTHEW HORBERY, B. D.
thou persecutest : it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks, Acts ix. 5.
EVERY one that has read the pamphlet of Christian Liberty asserted, &c. immediately perceived that it was below Dr. Waterland's notice; that as the argumentative part of it was little more than repetition, and had been fully answered in the doctor's former books, instead of being a distinct reply to his last; so the bitter railing and reproaches interspersed throughout, might be safely trusted with every intelligent and candid reader, as incapable of hurting any one besides the man who used them. Some reply, however, was judged not altogether needless; as the pamphlet might fall into the hands of such who are not sufficiently versed in the controversy to discover how impertinent and trite a performance it is; and chiefly, because some men never think themselves answered, if permitted to have the last word; and are apt to boast that their arguments are invincible, if not confuted as often as they are idle enough to revive them. It is upon this account that I have drawn up the following sheets; not pretending to make any new discoveries in them, or to bring any fresh support to the catholic cause, which at this time of day really wants none; but referring the reader chiefly to the learned and unanswered labours already published upon this subject, and particularly to that set of works so often quoted, which ought to be in every one's hands who may be led by curiosity, or engaged in duty, to make this controversy a part of his studies. If these be read with impartiality and attention, they must of consequence be read with great improvement and advantage; and the reverend author will need no further vindication from this writer's calumnies; and therefore I have been very little solicitous upon this head, as well knowing that the reputation here attacked is as incapable of being advanced by my praises, as of being sulied by this defamer's invectives, or lessened by his censure.
I have sometimes supposed myself in the Arian hypothé sis, and a friend in particular to the Country Clergyman; and then to be asked the reason by some stranger, why be treats Dr. Waterland in so boisterous and brutish a manner, as even the greatest provocations would hardly excuse. and nothing but the most inveterate spite and malice could suggest. To give a plain narrative of the controversy between them would by no means be accepted as a satisfactory answer. I could inform the inquirer, that some years ago the Country Clergyman had fallen in with Dr. Clarke's no tions of the Trinity; that upon this, Dr. Waterland was prevailed upon to send him some Queries, to put him upon defending his new notions, if they were defensible; or, if he found them not so, to forsake them for his old ; that the doctor proposed to carry on this conference in a friendly and private manner, but was forced into public controversy by the clergyman himself, who, without his leave or notice, committed the Queries with an answer to them to the press; that thither at length the doctor determined to follow him; and, in the judgment of most men, managed the debate with great learning, and used his opponent with great tenderness; that the clergyman soon found that he had engaged in an affair to which he was by no means equal, and was therefore obliged to call in the assistance of the two great champions of the cause, one of which at last took the debate into his own hands; that though the doctor was thus forced to engage with odds of number, and in the dark, yet his adversaries had no reason to say that he lost his temper, or transgressed the rules of decency in writing; that in all controversies severe things are said on both sides, the nature of the debate, or truth itself, sometimes requiring it; and that in this, if the doctor sometimes expressed himself sharply, through his indignation at what he thought weak arguments or unfair quotations, the other party had no reason to resent, because they themselves used the same liberties. I beg the reader to remember, that I am here sup