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« firmities with others; would they imparti“ally search after Truth, out of the alone “ certain and infallible Rule of it, the Word .“ of God; why should we despair, but that “ the Light of the glorious Gospel of Christ "might so shine upon us, as to guide our “ Feet into the Way of PEACE.
it. The Advantage of free Debate to Society is infinite. It is not only the Way to true Religion, and true Peace, but the Way to Knowledge and Arts, which are the Foundations of Politeness, Order, Happiness, and Prosperity; as Ignorance is the Foundation of Brutality, Disorder, Misery, and Declension in Society. It is the Way to make Men honest and sincere in the Profession of Religion (as Imposition is only the Way to make Men Knaves and Hypocrites); and That will introduce Honesty in other Respects, which is the best Policy, and the best Improvement of Man.
12. The Bulk of Men do, I confess, reason and practise very differently from what I have asserted and defended. Most Men, conscious of their own Weakness, see plainly,
that they are unable, by any Application to Inquiries, to judge for themselves in many Points. Thence they conclude they ought to be govern'd in their Belief by the Judgment of others. Then they take up with such Guides, as some Chance or other directs them to; who not only form their Opinions for them, but make them zealous for those Opinions. ,
Upon which Way of reasoning and Practice, I will only observe; that Zeal and Ignorance are a most absurd and ridiculous Composition in the fame Persons; and that these Men most manifestly determine the Point before them wrong, by taking Sides in Matters, wherein, as understanding nothing, they have no Concern, and should not pretend to have any Opinion at all. Would it not be excessively ridiculous to see ignorant People zealously engaged for or against Propofitions (as led by different Guides chosen at a Venture) in Astronomy, whereof they neither do, nor can understand any Thing? And is it less ridiculous for ignorant People zealously to concern them? felves about other Matters, (as led by Guides
chosen at a Venture ) whereof they know as little ?
13. Men have very different Tempers and Capacities from one another, naturally; have very different Educations ; do improve themselves very differently by Study, according to their different Capacities, Application, and Opportunities ; have different Interests, Passions, and Infirmities, by which they are influenced and acted; and are all fallible, not only in Matters that depend upon Reason, but in understanding the Scriptures, which, tho' true in themselves, and deliver'd to us by divine Inspiration, are in many Places too obscure for Men to be certain of their Meaning..
Hence a Foundation is laid for unavoidable Differences of Opinion among Men; which Differences are greatly encreased by the dogmatick Discipline that is infinitely more promoted and prevalent than those Disciplines, which teach Men to doubt and distrust the Truth of Matters proposed to them; and God himself, by forming Men as he has done, and by placing them in their present Circumstances, seems to have design'd that they should not agree in Opinion; or, at least, seems not to have design'd that they should agree.
What then can any violent Attempt or Project to hinder Men from differing in Opinion from one another be, but an Attempt to subvert the common State of human Nature and the Design of God; and not less ridiculous, romantick, and impossible to succeed, than an Attempt to hinder Speech, or to make all Men of the fame Size or Height, or to quell: the natural Paffion of Love, or to build a Tower up to Heaven?
And must not the Men of this Project be perfect Don Quixotes, and the greatest Fanaticks, in fetting about and pursuing so unaccountable a Work?
If some great Genius would but give an Account of the Actions of these Men (who may be properly called Saint-errants) in the Life and Adventures of some renown'd perfecuting Prince or Ecclefiaftick, who has spent his Time in promoting and establishing Uniformity in Whimsies, Dress, and Forms; as the great CERVANTES has done of Knight
errantry, errantry, in the Life and Actions of Don QUIXOTE, who spent his Time in Adventures to free the World of Monsters, and to tame Gyants, and all in Honour of DulciNEA Del Toboso, whoin, though homely and agreeable only to his depraved Taste, all the World should be obliged to bow down before and to admire, as a consummate Beauty; he might give us a more useful and entertaining Work than CERVANTES has done. Saint-errantry is a more common and natural Enthusiasm than Knight-errantry, which was an Enthusiasm but of Yesterday, and of small Duration and Extent; and therefore Saint-errantry has furnish'd Materials in almost all Ages, and infinite Materials in particular Ages, which are recorded in History, but especially in ecclefiaftical History.
But till a new CERVANTES arises and performs this work, I would recommend the History of Don Quixote, as in some Measure fuited and applicable to Saint-errantry, to be read in conjunction with eccleßaftick Hiftorians. For the Principle of Enthusiasm being the same in the Saint as in the Knight, and producing like Effects; the Reader may, by