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Virtue of their Enquiries, what Enquiries will it be allow'd Men safely to make ? What Marks, except the Dictates of Dr. LOBB, or others like him, are there, whereby to know, what Opinions may be innocently assented to, in Virtue of Enquiries, and what not? And will not any one, who is so weak as to be terrify'd with the Fear of Danger in embracing Opinions, which are the Effect of Enquiry, naturally lay afide all Enquiries, and take up with the Authority of a Lobb for the Opinions he receives ? And indeed, if through Fear of Danger in Enquiries you lay alide Enquiries, and yet think it necessary to have Opinions, nothing remains but to follow some of the different Lobbs, who will all assure you, that if you will follow their Method, you may be fure (n) of being in the right, and of being in a safe State ; but that if you take another Method, you will certainly be mistaken, and be in a dangerous State.
But what can be more absurd, than for any Man to take such superior Airs to himself, and to assume to himself the sole Right of maintaining and publishing Opinions, and to pretend himself to be guilty of no Fault, but praise-worthy in maintaining and publishing his Opinions, and to charge others with Guilt for maintaining and publishing their Opinions; who have an equal Right with him, to think for themselves, and who have an equal Right to be thought to pursue Truth, and to be upright
fure (n) of beinow their Methoditure you, that
(n) Ibid. p. 97
in their Enquiries, and ought not to be deem'd less upright in their Enquiries, and worse Pursuers of Truth, for subjecting themselves to the Reproach of the Mob, the Bigots, and the Interested, and despising the common (quack) Methods, which are visibly the Way to Power and Wealth ? And let me add, that when Men, who are all equal in the Matter before us, pretend to give themselves superior Airs, they lay as just a Prejudice in their Way from being listen'd to, as others do, who pretend to have infallible Medicines, and blame those, who will not receive their infallible Medicines. Modesty 'claims Attention, but Confidence in the Cafe juftly produces Contempt; and the best and most favourable Construction, that can be put upon all (o) solemn and pathetical Expostulations and Exhortations in the Case, is to deem them the Effects of Enthuhasm, as undoubtedly they sometimes are.
(0) Ibid. p. 83. 114
April 30, 1726.
Addition to the Postcript.
y Esterday was brought to me a Re
view of the Controversy between the Author of the Discourse of the
Grounds and Reafons of the Chriftian Religion and bis Adversaries, in a Letter to that Author; which, I am told, is written by a Minister of the Gospel in the West of England. And I take the Occasion now offer'd me to recommend this Gentleman to you and to introduce him into your Acquaintance. For, in my Opinion, whoever reads him, will be improved in his Morals by conversing with so polite a Person, and in his Notions of Things by attending to the many judicious Observations, which occur throughout his Book. And I cannot but hope for great Good from his Work; as it puts (positive] Religion upon the Foot of Enquiry and Reason, and allows all Men to have an equal Right to publish their Thoughts, in the following remarkably reafonable and equitable Obfervation offer'd to you.“ I am, says he, (p) so far from grudg“ing you the Liberty of proposing any Dif“ ficulties relating to Christianity, that I hear“ tily wish it encreased. I think it very un“ becoming to claim a Liberty for ourselves,
(P) p. 268.
“ which are not willing to indulge to others. If “ Christianity be not from God, I should re“joice to see its Imposture detected; but as “ This is a Matter of great Consequence, and “ as it must be allow'd, that there are confi“derable Things to be said for, as well as a“ gainst it; so it is but fair to suffer the Evi
dence on both sides to be brought into open “ Light, and to let the whole Matter be “ carefully and impartially confider'd. If “ Christianity be a divine Doctrine, you will do “ a great Service to it, by giving learned Men « Opportunity of carefully weighing those “ Difficulties, that do attend it. If it be not “ a divine Doctrine, upon a thorough Ex“ amination of the Matter, This will appear ( to all; Mankind will be undeceived, the “ divine Honour will be retrieved, and you “ will have a fair Opportunity of setting Re“ ligion on a true and solid Foundation; in “ which you will be assisted by all candid, “ honest, and disinterested Persons.” To these most just Thoughts, he subjoins a no less just Expectation from you ; who, I am sure, intirely concur with him in the Sentiments therein ccntain’d, concerning the Excellency of original, primitive Christianity; Christianity as deliver'd in the Scriptures, and the Difference between That and Christianity as taught by some moder? Priesis and in the Roman Chnrch. “ I am sensible, Sir, says be, that the vicious, “ the idle, and the interested Part of Christians “ are against such a free and impartial Ex“ amination of Things as I here propose ; but “ I hope you will be so candid as to judge of • the Genius and Spirit of Christianity from “ its own Rules, laid down in the original “ Writings of the first Disciples of our Lord, “ and not from the corrupt Notions, which “ Anti-christianism has introduced, and the " Practice of a great Number of weak and “ wicked Men, in these latter Ages, calling “ themselves Christians. I hope what you “ have seen of the Knavery of modern Priests " will not breed a Jealousy in you, concern“ ing the Designs of the Antients. I hope “ you will not judge of Christianity by the “ Genius and Design of Popery, any more “ than of natural Religion, by Heathenism, “ which are alike Corruptions of true Re“ ligion.”
I have, in my foregoing Papers, cited the ingenious Dean SHERLOCK against Mr. GREEN and Dr. Lobb, for his Approbation of your Asertion concerning Miracles being no Proof of Christianity of themselves without Prophesy; which Assertion they have both thought fit to attack, as anti-christian. Let me add two Passages out of the no less ingenious Author of the Review, who says to you,“ that he (9) foon submitted to that clear « Evidence, which you produced for Miracles “ not being of themselves a sufficient Proof “ of Christianity; and now freely owns that " he is more throughly convinced of the • Strength of your Reasonings on that Head, s from the Weakness of your Adversary's ;
(9) P. 2.