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LEARNING or of UNDERSTANDING should have such ideas. I resolved to take my horse, and to go and argue the matter with him, but found him inflexible! At length I told him he made me think of a circumstance which once happened to myself, when I was curate of a church in Thames Street. I was burying a corpse, and a woman came and pulled me by the sleeve in the midst of the service.” « Sir, Sir, I want to speak to you!”—“ Prythee,” says I, “woman, wait till I have done.”—“No, Sir, I must speak to you immediately."-" Why then what is the matter?”—“ Why, Sir,” says she, “ you are burying a man, who died of the small-pox, next my poor husband who never had it!” This story had the desired effect, and the parson permitted the bones of the poor Calvinist to be laid in his church-yard.

In this publication, my dear Sir, (which constitutes a sequel to the Sketch of the Denominations of the Christian World, the Fourteenth edition of which is just published,) I have concentrated into one focus the Testimonies of certain respectable Protestant writers in behalf of the pacific spirit of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Infidels assert, that THE CHRISTIAN RELIGION prohibits the exercise of reason, demands an implicit faith in the doctrines it promulgates, and establishes, among the credulous, a system of uncharitableness, intolerance, and persecụtion. Hence they think themselves justified, not only in withholding their assent to the evidence it proposes, but in characterizing it hy epithets of reprobation. This is a palpable misrepresentation of its genius and tendency. For, from these Testimonies of the enlightened advocates of REVELATION, unbelievers may learn, that it is worthy of divine origin, and deserving of universal acceptation; zealots may be taught how to conduct themselves towards their brethren of different sentiments, while the declarations of this respectable cloud of witnesses form an eloquent comment on the injunction of our blessed Saviour to his disciples, A new commandment give I unto you, that ye love one another.

Considerable pains, my dear Sir, have been taken in selecting and transcribing the subsequent testimonies; but, of the weight due to the authors, we shall judge according to our own sentiments. It is not expected that the approbation of every reader will be obtained, though I have been careful to admit no one writer, who has not, in his day, been distinguished for his genius and his piety. Most persons will here meet with their favourite authors; and to me, in the execution of the present work, it was a matter of indifference whether they were of Paul, or of Apollos, or of

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Cephas, provided they were of Christ ! It may be added, that I have not availed myself of every theological writer which might have been procured; nor have I inserted every paragraph in behalf of candour and unanimity, which is to be found in their writings. My chief design is to show the avowed enemies, and to remind the bigotted professors of revelation, that WISE and GOOD MEN, of all denominations, have in their calm moments considered the right of private judgment, in matters of religion, to be the badge of Protestantism; and have deemed the exercise of Charity towards those who differed from them to be the glory of the Christian profession.

I have confined myself to deceased writers, that I might avoid swelling the work to a size which ordinary readers would not have leisure to peruse, or ability to purchase; otherwise I might have enriched it with TESTIMONIES, in behalf of candour and unanimity, from living writers (with many of whom I have the pleasure of being acquainted) of the three classes of professed Christians, into which the Testimonies are here distributed. The mild and conciliating spirit of CHRISTIANITY is so far from being extinct, that it still continues to produce the benevolent effects, for which, in former ages of the church, it has been celebrated. Let not the infidel imagine, that the influence of the Gospel is circumscribed within any one period, or limited to any particular century. It is as immutable as the Deity who first gave it! It is as permanent as that Eternity for which it is calculated to prepare us! All flesh is grass, and all the glory of man like the flower of the field. The grass withereth, and the flower. thereof falleth away; but the word of the Lord, with respect both to its purity and benevolence, endureth for

ever.

A modern Unbeliever, my dear Sir, of political notoriety, is so ignorant of the nature of Revealed religion, that he pronounces the Scriptures to be sources of delusion, and records of wickedness! He has poured forth invectives against those who believe in their inspiration, and against those whose province it is to explain their contents. But we must not be surprised ignorance, calumny, and falsehood, are the materials by which the empire of infidelity hath been raised and perpetuated. Christians of the plainest understandings know that their religion inculcates a rational piety, and prescribes the purest morality. If this piety be not interwoven in their characters, and this morality exemplified in their conduct-to the want of religion, and not to religion itself, should these deficiences be imputed. Paul, the apostle of the Gentiles,

who understood more of the nature, and experienced more of the influence of Christianity than any individual now living, emphatically denominates it the doctrine according to godliness! There is a degree of injustice in charging it with the infirmities of its professors. But permit me to ask the unbeliever, who exults in these objections, do all the advocates of NATURAL RELIGION maintain a rational faith, and exhibit an unblemished reputation? In general, is it not otherwise? Does not their rejection of revelation excite a suspicion, that they strive to evade the force of its precepts; and to rescue themselves from that wholesome restraint, which the awfulness of its penalties imposes upon human conduct? With respect to infirmity, the Unbeliever and the Christian stand on common ground; nor can either of them pretend to sinless perfection. But were we to estimate the influence of their respective creeds, I should feel no apprehension for the Christian, provided he cherished that temper, and adopted that train of conduct recommended by JESUS CHRIST in the New Testament. Were men to take the pains to believe which they take to disbelieve THE GOSPEL, the triumphs of infidelity would cease, its attendant vices disappear, and CHRISTIANITY, in its purest and most benignant form, would bless all the inhabitants of the earth!

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