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most disgraceful and Violent things for love of the Truth. — tet if we make a juji Computation, and take in the Primitive Martyrs with the Prophets and Apostles themselves, the professed Defenders of Truth, only for Truth's fake, will be found to be a small handful with respect to the numerous Par.. titans of Error.
And such is the deplorable Condition of our Age3 that a Man dares not openly and directly own what he thinks of DiVme Matters, tho it be never so true and beneficial, if it but Very slightly differs from what is received by any Party, or that is establish'd by Law, but he is either forced to keep perpetual Silence, or to propose his Sentiments to the World, by "way of Paradox, under a borrow d or fitlitious Name. To mention the least part of the Inconveniences they expose themselves to, who .. >, have have the (jourage to aft more aboveboard, is too melancholy a Theme, and visible enough to be lamented by all that are truly generous and Vertuous.
The PraVity of most Mens Dispositions, and the Ambition of parti' cular Persons makes this Matter seem less strange in Politick and Secular Affairs j and yet a Man may not only make new Discoveries and Improvements in Law or Phyfick, and in the other Arts and Sciences impunibly, but also for so doing be deservedly encouraged and rewarded. But wonderful J That the sacred flame of Religion which sounds nothing butSantlity, Peace, and Integrity, should be so universally abused to patronise Ambition, Impiety, and Qontention \ And that what is pur highest Interest perfectly to understand, should (for (seasons afterwards to be laid open) both be mainA 5 taind
tttlnd to be obscure} and'Very industriously made so! $$$') ft is come to this,'that Truth meets no where with stronger Oppositions Hban from many of those that raise the loudest cry about -u, and would be taken for no less than the only Ttispensers of the Favours and Oracks of HeaV.en. Jf any has the Firmness to touch the minutest thing that brings them Gain or Credit, he's presently pursued with the Hue and Crftf' Beresy: And, if he "Values their Censures, compelFd tomakPbonottrabte Attends ; or if he frdyts\contum'aciolis, %e falls a Sacrifice, at least in his (ftepittation, tit tbtk\n\placab\e Hatred; T' '-Jferj*- he like, we may be sure, tfrncefie fairer Quarter from the dltikrU Antagonists of^ttgion, yjbofi Principles',1 to *ttiefir ample upon all Equity and Trtihf''jfo they 6blige.*tm
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tors of these and all other Vertueu 'But of such depressing Considerations enough! X^ptwithjlmding which, I have ventured to publish this Discourse, designing thereby to reB'tjy, as much as I'm able, the narrow higpttedTenets of the One, and'thpnoji impious Maxims of the Others , "]' No Atbeist or Infidel of any hind can jujlly he angry with mefojqneafuring Swords with them, and attacking them 'only with the Weapons they prescribe'me. The true Christian cart no more be offended,, when he finds meimploy season,, hot toenerVate or perplex, but to confirm and elucidate Revelation j unless, he is apprehensive' 1 should tender it tf>o clear to myself, or too familiar to - others, which are Absurdities no Body pill own. :" t hope to make it appear, that the Use of season is $Vjo%nserous infylkionas it is.co^irn^Hly A 4 "'** ^ripre*
represented, and that too byjuch as mightily extol it, when it seems to faVouy 'em, yet Vouchsafe it not ahearing when it makes against them, but oppose its oirn Authority to it self. "These are high Privileges indeed, and the surest Means of having always the better of the Dispute that could possibly be devised.
The the mifiaken Unbeliever may not Jay J ferVe a Hypothesis in the T>efence of my Faith, like some who first imagine or receive an Opinion, and then study Proofs to establish it, I solemnly declare the thing is much otherwise; and that I hold nothing as m Jrt'icle of my Religion, but what the highest Evidence fore'd me to embrace. For being educated, from my Qradle, in the grossest Superstition and Idolatry, (jrod was pleased to make my own season, and fitch as made use of theirs, the happy Instruments