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Nature is a very considerable Ingredient of good Manniers, and a Man cannot very well be said to be Civil to any one to whom at the same time he plainly appears to be very unkind.
Why our ingenious Author has used me thus I partly Guess, though why he should I know no just reafon, elpecially considering the different Treatment he had from me upon a like publick Occasion. Which I cannot mention without telling him by the way that as if I had made no reply to his late Treatise, I had not been in his Debt, so if I make him a Civil one he is doubly in mine.
But to let that pass, I know nothing more unbecoming either a Searcher after Truth, or an Advocate for it than Peevishness and ill-Nature, nor how this Author could be guilty of a greater Incongruity than while he was writing of the Love of God to let fall such broad indications of Disaffection towards his Neighbour, especially being unprovoked, I might say Obliged, and upon the very first Aggress.
When indeed the Sam of Contention has been drawn backward and forward for some while, no wonder if at length it way hot, and great Allowances are to be made for Men that grow out of Temper after they have been chaff”d and warm'd with long Dispute, as also Some for him that is the Respondent, and upon the defensive part; But for one that is the first Aggressor to come on fo fiercely, and at first dash to fall upon a Man like a red-hot piece of Iron upon an Anvil, burning and Tparkling as it falls, this I think is againit all the Measures of Decorum, and that common Civility that is due from Man to Man, not or fay fronı one Christian to another. And he will hardly perswade the World to believe (were it more Candidly disposed than it is) that he had either Truth or Charity in his View that shall allow himself such a free Range in Malicious Railery, and whose Expressions
are so high-season'd with Spite and ill-Nature. He may talk of preventing Mistakes about Religion, &c. but the jealous World will be apt to believe this only a good Çovering for a bad Design, and that whatever Shews of Zeal for truth or Religion may swim at cop, there is an old Grudge at the Bottom.
I am not fo wedded to an Hypothesis (whatever the Kindness of this Adversary may insinuare) buc that I value Truth more; and if I know my own Heart; should gladly and thankfully receive the poorest Endeavours from the meanest hand, whose sincere Inten. tion I have reason to believe is to reduce me to it. But when Men shall write upon a Pique, and instead of opposing their Adversaries Conclusions shall reflect fpitefully upon their perfons, as the Case is then far otherwise, fo 'tis no wonder if the Refentment be fo too. I do not therefore thank our Author at all for the Pains he has taken in his Book, which I cannot think written out of love to Me at least, if out of any to Truth (for if his Business had been only to convince me, and fet my Understanding at righes, what need so much Personal Reflection and Spiteful · Infinuation) bur rather to give vent to an Anory and uneafie Humour of his own, and to entertain his Reader at the Expence of my Reputation. If therefore 1 Forgive him, 'tis fufficient; which I assure him I heartily do, Praying for him among those that defpitefully use me, and wishing him a becter Spirit, and that he would endeavour to reforin his Temper, which l'ın afraid is more unserviceable to Religion than any Hypothesis of mine can be. And for his berter Allistance herein I would humbly Commend to his Reading and serious Confideration, part of one of the New Moral Essays of M. Placete, (they are Protestant Essays, and therefore he need not be afraid of any Mystic Divinity in them) Vol. 2. Pag. 284. concerning the Evil of abusing Men in Print. My Second Adversary treats me with a little more
195 of the need pag. 2*
Civility and Respect, for which I thank him. And yet there are here and there some Roughnesses, little Flires, and not very good-Natured Reflections and Insinuations that need some allowance, though not more than (I thank God) I can give. Only there is one Passage which I take very unkindly of him, and for which I think he owes me some Account, I may say Reparation. He says, Page 62. that I Charge the Authors of the Vulgar Exposition with Infinceria ty and love to their Lufts. And that I do this Plainly and Confidently. And upon this he proceeds to Sound an Alarm, and to stir up all the Clergy of the Nati. on to engage and rise up in Arms against ine, by laying, That in defence of their own Reputations, and the Reputatiin of their traduc'd Brethren, all the whole Body of the Clergy who differ, &c. stand bound to vindicare themselves from thole vile Imputations which I caft upon them.
"Now he cannot but be sensible that there may be an odious and invidious manner of expressing even a Truth. Which may be represented either nakedly as it is, or with some tenderness and mollification, or elle odiously and by way of aggravation. To the first of these Juftice would perswade, to the second Kindness and good-Nature, but the third is altogether unfair, and unbecoming a Man that pretends to either of the other. And yet is not this the thing he does by me? Does he not aggravate my Sense, and give it an harsher Ayr by his way of expressing it ? He says in down-right terms, that I charge these Men with Inancerity, and Love to their Lufts, and that I do it plainly and confidently. Now any one that reads this would be apt to think that I had Directly, Formally, and Expiesly Charged them with these things: Bur do I do so ? He knows that I do not ; and I appeal to my Words, or to any indifferent Considerer cf them, whether I do or no, and withal whether he has uor done unfairly by me, by thus odiously represent
ing me, though the Charge it self, as to the Matter and Subitance of it, had been never so true. .
But neither Secondly is it true. 'Tis not true in the first place that I charge the Men with Infincerity. Had I said that they were Conscious to themselves that this was not the Sense, and yer would exhibit it as the Sense again it the l'erswalion of their Judgmenrs and the Light of their Minds, this indeed would be to tax them with Insincerity. But do I say fo?? I do not say that upon the whole they were sensible that this was not the meaning of the Text; on the contrary, I suppose thein, all things consider'd, to be forc'd to take up with it as low as it was, for want of a due foundation for a higher; as would be seen if he had quoted me throughout. All that I say is, that they could not but be sensible that herein they did not rise up to the Letter. But by his good leave, 'tis one thing to be sensible that such a Senie falls short of the Letter and another to be sensible that it is not the true Senle unless he will saythat never any Man thought that a True Sense, which at the same time he knew not to be the Literal Sense of a Text. Which he muit, and does by consequence fay, when he makes me Charge the Vulgar Expositors with Insincerity, which fixes that very imputation of losincerity upon all the Protestant Interpreters against the Papifts, which ha fuppofes me to lay upon those of our own Church. And now he has made a fine piece of work on’t. But where then is the pretended lofincerity ? I know of none, nor do I Charge any Man, or Body of Men, with any such thing; though whether there be not some body in the World that I might now Charge with it, I leave him to consider.
Then neicher, secondly, do I Charge them with L'ore to their Lusts, at leait not as he represents it. For first, his Words imply as if I Charg'd ir upon chemin particular, whereas I fpeak of Men in general, noc excluding my telf; faying, Here it not a matter of P7.2
Then neithes at least nor a Chargd ir upe
Etice wherein our Passions and Interests are concern'd. A: gain secondly, He says Love to their Lufts, whereas I lay only Lufts. But now Lusts and Love to theiß Luits are two distinct things; the former importing only the Natural Corruption of Human Nature, that propension that is in us to sensible Good, which is the lame with Original Sin; and the latter the free Adhesion and voluntary Obsequiousness of the Will to that Corruption, which is the same with Actual Sin. And how does he wrong me then, when he imputes this Latter to me, whereas tis plain that I speak only of the Former. Any one that hears him say, that I Charge such Men with Love to their Lusts, would by the Natural import of the Words (especially when joyn'd with the dreadful Alarm that follows upon them) be led to think that I had Charged them, and them in particular, with a wilful Adhesion to, and Çomplyance with their Lusts; whereas I speak only of that general depravation of Human Nature, that Corrupt Adam which is in every Man, and which indisposes Men for the reception of such Truths as cross and oppose that Natural Bias; which I make to be the great disadvantage of Moral Truths, in comparison of those which are Physical and Mathematical, c. This is the Drift of my Meaning, as may appear by the whole Scope of the Place referr'd to, than which I think nothing could be more innocent or inoffensive in it felf, how choquant or distaltful foever it may appear as our Reverend Author has been pleased to dress it up, and represent it ; with what design I will not assume to judge, but I am sure with no great Prudence; since he cannor but know, as well as the rest of the World, how well affected I am to the English Clergy, and that I need nor him, nor any other Rea conciler to make me think better or more honourably. of them that I do. But as the most serious things may be Burlesqu’d, so the most innocent things may be render'd offensive and disobliging, either by a falfe