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and Quickness, by the Compass of his Reading, and by his great Memory, he omits nothing, that can be urged or wiredrawn to support any Sentiments he espouses ; as is mani. fest from many of his theological Works.
He is an upright and very religious Man, and a most zealous Christian ; leading a moral Life; as is common to most, who are styled Hereticks; cultivating (a) in himself, and promoting in others such Virtue and Learning, as he thinks would conduce most to the Honour of God, by manifesting the Greatness and Wisdom of his Works; renouncing Glory, Riches, and Ease (which he might have had with the Applause of all, and Envy of none) and willingly and courageously undergoing Obloquy, Poverty, and Persecution (all three whereof have been his Lot, and the two former will be always ) for the sake of a good Conscience; deeming Prudence to be the worldly Wisdom condemn’d by Christ and his Apostles, and Concealment of religious Sentiments to be a great Crime; and unmoved by the Example of several (6) learned Divines, who, as is well known, have great Prudence, and, thro' Fear of the Ignorant, the Bigots, and the Crafty, (who govern the two former) do, most of all Men, conceal their religious Sentiments, from the World ; which, if they happen in Confidence to discover to him,
(a) Hare's Diffi. and Disc. p. 16, &c. . (6) Erasmi Epiftolæ. p. 501. 507. 583. 672. See also Whiston's Refleftions on a Discourse of Free-thinking, p. 53. Id. Prim. Chrift. Vol. I. Hif. Pref. p. 27.
he he without Scruple publishes (c) in Print; facrificing his Understanding to the Obedience of Faith, and believing Mysteries; and not rejecting even the Athanafian Creed itself (tho', in his Opinion, contradictory in itself, and to Reason) but only as not grounded on Scripture and Antiquity ; following fome Practices how rigid and seemingly ridiculous soever, and how remote soever from the Practices of the Age and Country, wherein he lives, which he thinks required by CHRIST and his Apostles (which has made some People wonder, that he continues, as in the Time of his Darkness, to save bis Beard, contrary to the express Declaration of the (d) Apoftolick Constitutions); finding out and seeing clearly the Revolutions of all the following Ages, both past and to come, in the Writings of the Prophets, and in the Revelation of St. John ; taking up with all Manner of false Proofs in Behalf of Christianity, such as forged Books, forged Passages, precarious Suppofitions, Tales, and sham-Miracles, as well as with the moft substantial Proofs ; endeavouring (e) to explain Scripture Difficulties; wherein, tho" he, like others, who have meddled with the fame Subject, bas not succeeded, as Dr. HARE fays, yet he has shewn his Zeal; holding (f)
(c) See bis Hiftor. Pref. and Allix's Remarks on Whiston's Papers.
(d) Apostol. Constit. l. 1. c. 3.
(e) Hare's Diffic. and Discourag. p.7. See Whifton's Dedication to his Chron. p. 4. i . W Whilton's Pref. io Letter to the Earl of Nottingham, p. 7.
a Society a Society in his own House of honest and inquisitive Men of all parties and Notions among Christians, in order to search after, and find out, genuine and original Christianity; and in fine, as much in earnest, as some others seem to be in jest.
He is the very Reverse of many most eminent Divines. He thinks himself obliged in Conscience to be dutiful, submissive, and loyal to his. Majesty, to whom he has sworn Allegiance ; and it is not a Church Point with him to act one Way and pray and swear another, or not to be in earnest in those two most serious and solemn Actions. He speaks what he thinks, and is not guilty of the Contradiction of making the Christian Religion a Matter of great Importance, and yet concealing his Thoughts about the Particulars of that Religion; any more than he is of professing a Religion, which he does not believe. He pays no Regard to fashionable Doctrines ; nor to' fashionable Divines, who, in Obedience to one another and in Harmony, vary, change, and regulate the Faith of the Vulgar. He will not be bound by Articles, which he has subscribed, but renounce them, when he judges them erroneous; nor will he subscribe Articles, which he does not believe true, or subfcribe them in Senses contrary to thole design'd by the Imposers. He renounces all Preferments, and will not so much as receive Money from (g) infidel Hands. And he thinks him
(8) Second Append. to Hift. Pref. p. 58.
felf self obliged to imitate the Apostles in their low State ; and he believes it no less inconsistent with Christianity, to aim at and contend for, and to poffefs that worldly Greatness and Wealth, which their pretended Successors of the Romish Church enjoy and contend for as due to them by the Gospel, than to contradict the Apostles in other Respects.
He is a zealous Member (b) of the Church of England, as by Law establish'd; keeping to that Church; though several Parts of the Worship therein perform'd be, in his Opinion, Blafphemy and Contradiction; tho' he knows he hears daily the most absurd, sophistical, declamatory, and factious Discourses from the Pulpit ; tho he be attack'd and abused on most Sundays from that bigh Place, to the Understanding of the Auditory, who on such Occasions turn their Eyes upon him; tho he be refused to partake of the blessed Sacrament, which (i) goes near his Heart; and though he be forbid coming to Church by the Rector of his Parish, who has endeavour'd to set the Mob upon him.
But his Judgment does not seem to be equal to his Sagacity, Learning, Zeal, and Integrity. For, either through the Prejudices of Education, which he still retains, or through some Superstition, which, notwithstanding his Examination, sticks by him, he seems ftill quali
(b) Papers relating to Mr. Whilton's Cause. p. 168, 171.
(i) Poftfcript to his Hift. Pref. p. 72. Papers relating to bis Cause. p. 156, &c.
fy'd fy'd to admit the most precarious Suppositions, and to receive many Things without the least Foundation. The Warmth of his Temper disposes him to receive any sudden Thoughts, any Thing that strikes his Imagination, when favourable to his preconceived Scheme of Things, or to any new Schemes of Things, that serve, in his Opinion, a religious Purpose. And his Imagination is so strong and lively on these Occasions, that he sometimes even supposes Facts, and builds upon those Facts. Thus, for Example, he acted in the (k) Case of an Arabick Manuscript (whereof he understood not one Word), which he hoped was or took to have been a Translation of an antient Book (l) of Scripture, belonging to the New Testament, and written by the Apostles, styled, the Do&trine of the Apoji les, and proposed to publish it as such. But when it came to be read by Men skilful in the Arabick Tongue, it proved a Translation of another Book before extant in Print in its original Language. And thus, tho' he be a Lover of Truth, yet by his Warmth of Temper he is drawn in and engaged fo far in the Belief and Defence of many as gives a Turn to his Understanding, and thereby makes his Conviction of Mistakes in some Cases difficult, and in others, perhaps, impoffible.