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The late Bishop (u) Lloyd says, “though se some of our Deists complain of the Loss “ of PORPHYRY's Books against the Christian şs Religion, yet they may be assured for their “ Comfort, they will not want the Help of s our learned Men to bring them to Light. “Wewant them indeed on many Accounts; but “ especially, to Thew them, that as they have “ PORPHYRY's Malice, so if they had his “ great Learning too, both these join'd to“gether would not hurt the Christian Reli“gion. (x) As for his Arguments, it cannot be “ imagined that there was any Thing of “ Strength in them, more than what JULIAN “ the Apoftate took into the Work, that he “ writ afterwards on that Subject. And to “our Comfort, as well as the Deifts, that “ Work is not lost.
“ The Church of Rome, says ( \ ) Dr. “SHERKOCK, will not suffer her People to “ dispute their Religion, or to read heretical
(u) Lloyd's, Chron. Account of Pythagoras, &e. p. 21.
« Books, “ Books, nay not so much as to look into “the Bible itself. But we allow all This to “our People, as That, which God not only “allows, but requires, and which all confi“dering Men will allow themselves, whoever « forbids it.
Dr. NICHOLs and other learned Divines have writ many elaborate Works, in Behalf of Christianity, by Way of Dialogue; wherein they introduce Deists and Scepticks, who must be supposed to argue for their several Hypothefes with the same Strength real Deifts and Scepticks do; for it is not to be imagined, that the Authors of those Dialogues, who cannot but know that the Nature of Dialogue requires a true Representation of Characters, and that Justice is due to all Men, should be fo illiterate and unfair, as to make their Die alogist-Deists and Scepticks talk Booty, and in Concert with the Orthodox-Dialogist, in order to establish the Author's own Opinions.
In fine, the reverend Dr. JENKIN should seem to be of the same Sentiment with the great Men before-mention'd, when he says,..
(%) that “ all the Arguments brought against * Christianity are foweak and insignificant, that " they rather make for it.
15. The greatest Enemies to Liberty of Debate in Matters of Religion do allow certain religious Questions to be publickly debated; and pursuant thereto, there are ever fome religious Debates on Foot, even in those Countries, where Agreement in Doctrine and Uniformity in Worship are the chief Objects of the Care of the Magistrate, the Church, and the Inquisition, and of the Zeal of the Beggars; which four, when united in a common Polity, make the strongest Band imaginable against the just Liberties of Mankind. On the other Side, the greatest Contenders for Liberty of Debate in Matters of Religion do contend for some Restraints upon that Liberty, and think that there are certain Propositions, which ought not to be call'd in Question, as being necessary to be profess’d for the Support of Peace and Order in Society, or at least not deny’d.
[2) Jenkin's Pref. to Reason. of Christ. Rel. Vol. I. p. 36.
"Both Parties must therefore allow, that there is a just Medium between Restraint and Liberty.
This Medium, from the great Importance of the Matters constantly depending on it to Society, should seem not very difficult to fix and determine in most Cafes. And it seems to me so plainly to discover itself, that almoft any Man, if placed in proper Circumstances, would judge rightly and truly how far, or in what Particulars, Men should have Liberty in Religion, and confequently wherein they should be restrain'd.
Let, for Example, a Member of the Church of England (whom I will suppose perswaded, that he is obliged in Conscience publickly to profess the Doctrine of the Church of England) go successively into Countries of Prefbyterians, Papists, Mahometans, and Heathens; and by finding out the reasonable Liberty, which he wants himself, he can hardly fail of finding out the reasonable Liberty of Men.
He cannot but think; that he ought to be allow'd publickly to profess his Religion among the Presbyterians ; though they may esteem him fuperftitious, or fanatical, or factious, for making a Separation from their establish'd Church about Ceremonies and Matters of Difcipline; that he ought to be allow'd to profess his Religion publickly among the Papists; though they may esteem him an Heretick and Schismatick, and a Destroyer of all Order and Uniformity, for pretending to make the Scriptures, interpreted by his own Judgment, his Rule of Faith, and for denying the Authority of the Church; that he ought to be allow'd to profess his Religion publickly among the Mahometans ; though they may deem him impious, for denying the divine Inspiration of the Alcoran and the Authority of Mahomet, and an Idolater for worshiping the Son and the Holy Ghost, each as supreme God, as well as the Father; and that he ought to to be allow'd to profess his Religion among the Heathens ; though 'they may call him Atheist, as the Heathens did the primitive Christians, either for asserting the Unity of a Deity, with whom they were unacquainted,