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ANY are the discouragements
with which the Refutation of Objections against Revealed Religion is unavoidably attended. Both the Subject, and the Arguments, have in general been so often considered, that' very Few will be disposed to read, what it may be necessary to write; and of those Few, scarce Any will be throughly pleased, and the Majority perhaps often disgusted. If conciseness is studied, the Writer may seem, on points of such concern, not to have said enough ; if he is diffuse on subjects so well
(iv) known, he will appear to have said too much. Should he not answer the Objections before him in an ample manner, it will be thought he had better not have attempted to answer them at all; and should he place their weakness in the strongest point of view, they may then be found in fact fo utterly insignificant, as to be deemed unworthy of Refu+ tation. If the particulars concerned have not been made subjects of dispute among Believers Themselves, Many, will think it unnecessary ta consider them, on that account alone; and should they have been Contfoverted Points, the Writer must una. voidably differ almost as much from many among the Friends of Rever lation, as from its Enemies. After all, should his undertaking be even crowned with success, Objections are endless; and when refuted in one
another. Nor is it an inconfider: able disadvantage, that the very bufiness of Refuting is in itself far from agreeable; and that there is ever too much cause to fear, left the victory gained by Reason, should be fullied by Reproach; and the Duties of Religion be sacrificed even in eftablishing its Truth.
Yet, surely, the Enemies of Revealed Religion should not be permitted to triumph, though by the very moderation of its Friends ; nor the Gospel go undefended, because there are some discouragements attending its defence. New Objections certainly call for New Replies; and to Old Objections still again repeated, Old Answers should be still again returned. Far more pleasing, indeed, is the employment of establishing
Truth, than of refuting Falsehood: But if Falsehood is actually advanced, the interest of Truth requires that it should be refuted. And whatever may be the disadvantages attending the task, it has this inducement to overpower them all; that he who endeavours, with sincerity and candour, to advance the knowledge, confirm the principles, and increase the influence of Revealed Religion, imitates so far the Divine Example of Him, Who for this caufe came into the world, that he might bear witness to the Truth.