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gainst this Prejudice. But besides this, there is in some Tempers a strong Affectation of appearing to be Persons of superior Genius, able to break through the Force of Education, and common Prejudices; and this I doubt not has carried many who were not able to distinguish themselves to advantage by their superior Virtues or Abilities, to endeavour to do it by opposing and rejecting the Faith of Christians, and on this account assuming to themselves a Judgment and Penetration above the Vulgar, as if they could see farther than the rest of Man* kind. But the most powerful Prejudice of all against Christianity, and which has a much stronger Force to incline some Persons to reiect it, than any or all the Prejudices in its favour to incline Men to embrace it, is that which arises from the Byass of their corrupt Lusts and Passions. When Men are devoted to any of those Sins, which the Gospel forbids under the severest Penalties, they must either renounce the Scriptures, or condemn themselves. A Man that is under the Power of strong vicious Inclinations and depraved Habits, will of course be prejudiced against a Religion, which if it be true obliges him to counteract and mortify his darling Appetites, and will not suffer him to be easy in his licentious Courses, and teaches him to expect a dreadful Punishment in a future State, as the Effect of his Ill-conduct in this. His Interest and Inclinations naturally bribe his Judgment to pronounce-against such a Religion, O 2 they
they give force to every Objection, and will hardly admit him calmly to consider its Proofs. And therefore in an Age'of growing Dissoluteness and Corruption of Manners, it is not very surprizing to see an Increase of Infidelity too.
On the other hand, a Man of real Piety and Virtue, one who is a devout Adorer of the Deity, who endeavours to govern his Passions, and is regular in his Life, can scarce help approving and wishing well to a Religion of such an excellent Tendency, that raises him to the most sublime Hopes, that gives him the most ravishing Discoveries and Assurances of God's rich Grace and Mercy} and of his wonderful Love to Mankind, and of the Glories prepared in a future State, as the Reward of a Life of sincere Piety and Virtue in this. I will therefore readily own, and let our Author make the most of this Concession, that a good Man will be apt to be prejudiced in favour of the Christian Religion. But then this Prejudice, if it must be called ib, is a just and reasonable one. When a Man discerns the Characters of divine Wisdom, Goodness and Purity in the Gospel, when he feels its Suitableness to his own Cafe, the happy Effect it has upon himself in purify
abound in every good Work, this hath a natural Tendency to convince one of a sincere and upright Mind, that the Gospel is not the Work of Impostors, that it is worthy of God, and
came came from him. And it is a great Proof that the Christian Religion is founded in Reason and Evidence, when it has both such obvious Characters and Proofs of its Excellency and Divinity, as strike the Minds and internal Sense of those who are not so well able to carry their Views through a long Chain and Series of Reasonings; and when it is also confirmed by such a Variety of Arguments and Evidences, as taken in a more extensive View are capable of giving Satisfaction to those of the greatest Leisure and Penetration. These Reasons and Evidences have often been represented to the World with great Strength and Clearness, nor do I find this Writer has offered any thing to prove those Reasons insufficient.
I have now obeyed your Commands in communicating my Thoughts to you upon this Pamphlet, and have not left any thing in it unexamined, that seemed to me to deserve Notice. And as this Writer makes some mew of treating the Subject he has undertaken in a methodical Way, I have, that he might not complain of having his Arguments mangled or not represented in their full Force, followed him in the Order which he himself has chosen. But tho" I will not deny him the Praise of Wit and Ability, yet upon the most impartial Consideration of his Performance, I cannot help faying, that an Author that in any other Cause would give himself such a Liberty of misrepresenting
Things, Things, and endeavour to impose upon his Reader at the rate this Gentleman has done, or that would treat any other Book as he has done the Scriptures, would be justly regarded, as having forfeited all his Credit and Reputation as a fair and candid Writer; and it certainly aggravates it highly, when it is done with a View to mislead Persons in a Matter of the highest Consequence. If you think the Remarks I have offered may be of use, I (hall not repent the Pains I have taken in them. I am with a real Esteem
The Fifth Edition of the two following Books [For the Use of Families.] ,
Written By The Lord Bishop Of Sodor And Mann, and sold by John Ofborn, at the Golden Ball in Pater-noster-Row. ,
Knowledge and Practice of ChristiAnity made easy to the Meanest Capacities, &c.—designed for the Benefit and Instruction of such Christians, as have not well, considered the Meaning of the Religion they profess , Or,—Who profess to know God, but in Works do deny him.
In several fiort and plain Dialogues.
Together with Family and private Meditations
and Prayers. _ .__
Short and Plain Instruction for the better Understanding of the
LO R D'S .SUPPE R,
With the necessary Preparation requir'd for the Benefit of Young Communicants: And of liich as have not well considered this Holy Ordinance, ■ .
To which is annex'd The Office of the
Holy Communion: With proper Helps and Directions for joining in every Part thereof with Understanding and Benefit.
N. B. Great Allowance will be made by "John OJborn to such Persons as take Numbers of these Books, to disperse at home, or in our Plantations and Colonies abroad.