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SINCE the publication of my Second Defence in the cause of our blessed Lord's Divinity, I have been waiting to see what further attempts we were to have from the Arians. I perceive they are still resolute in their opposition to the faith of Christ, blaspheming his Godhead, impugning his worship, and despising every kind offer of instruction, or exhortation, to convince or reclaim them. I have the satisfaction however to observe, that they daily give ground more and more; that the defensive part, which they begun with, is, in a manner, yielded up; their main scheme appearing so gross, and so untenable, that they themselves are afraid or ashamed to own it.
As to the offensive, which is now all that they are willing to abide by, they hold it on still as far as they are able: and yet even here one may observe, that, as to matter of argument, their attacks are as harmless as a man might wish; only there is a certain fierceness or bitterness of spirit still remaining, and which seems to increase, as their strength decreases; and which perhaps may grow upon them more and more to the last, as is natural and common in such cases. : But to come to the point.
Their first effort to renew the contest appeared under the title of Remarks, &c. by one Philalethes Cantabrigiensis, printed for J. Noon. Having no manner of aequaintance, that I know of, with the man under that conceited name; and finding little in the piece more than tedious repetition, and studied confusion, I slighted it, as apprehending myself not at all obliged to take notice of it.
Waiting a while longer, there comes out another pamphlet, entitled, Observations, &c. and by the Author of the Reply to my First Defence, printed for James Knapton, &c. which when I saw, I immediately concluded, as I had some leisure upon my hands, that here was a call to me to set pen to paper once more.
For however low an opinion I might have of the performance, after reading it, yet the Author of the Reply, when he has any thing to say,
and while our readers are not quite weary, may always command my more especial notice. Whether it be Dr. Clarke, or whether it be Mr. Jackson, (for though it be doubted which, all agree that it lies between them,) they are both men whom I must attend to: one, as he is the principal in the cause; the other, as he is second, and had the first hand in committing my Queries to the press, engaging me ever after in the public service. Let but either of those two gentlemen stand accountable in the opinion of the world, (I mean no more,) for any foul play on their side, as I by setting my name am answerable for any on mine, and then I shall think myself upon even terms with them in that respect : and as to any other, I humbly conceive, I have no reason to fear their gaining any advantage: -- The author of the Observations begins with giving us his judgment of his own performance; assuring his reader, in the most solemn manner, that the Observations contain in them no argument, nor branch of any argument, but what, upon the most serious consideration and careful review, appears to him strictly and perfectly conclusive. Thus far perhaps may be true: for I know not how things may appear to him, nor how defective he may be in judgment. But I wish he could have added, no representations but what, upon calm examination, he had found to be strictly just; no reports, but what he knew to be true ; no charges upon his adversary, but what he believed to be honest and upright; no personal reflections be.