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“Great men are not always wise, neither do the aged understand judgment. Therefore, I
Job, xxxii. 9, 10.
Jer. v. 30, 31.
Titus i. 11, 14.
PRINTED BY JOSHUA HOBSON, 5, MARKÉT STREET, BRIGGATE,
Whoever thou art, that looketh into the following pages, containing my first faint effort to banish ignorance, and to extirpate those prejudices, from the minds of men, which they, from their infancy, have so ardently cherished, and blindly followed, without ever disputing their utility, or examining the motives for such attachment, be not rash to condemn unheard ; nor pass the sentence of ignorance against that truth, which fears not thy most scrutinizing inspection, but rather courts and earnestly calls for it. Do not expect to find that perfection in INFIDELS, who have only reason and common sense for their guide, which you cannot find in BELIEVERS, though assisted with their Holy Ghost. Receive us as we are; men, like yourselves, with human failings; men, who make no pretensions to rule and govern your opinions, but only request of you to exercise those intellectual faculties with which you are endowed, and judge for yourselves ; which you must acknowledge to be your reasonable service; and no longer subject your reason, to the wild, extravagant, and fantastical suggestions of those, who, as Paul says, while desiring to be TEACHERS of the law, understand neither what they say, nor whereof they affirm ;1 whose interest alone depends upon your credulity ; and whose gain is your godliness ! opinion to the education and decision of your own reason, which, of itself, is as capable to determine matters of Religion, as well as of your ordinary affairs : for he that taketh a Religion upon trust, evinces that he has none of his own. Is not this the case with the Mahometans, Hindoos, &c. ? So he that believeth in Christ, by education only, would, had he been educated an Idolator, have believed in Idols.
The Scriptures invite us to come and reason together ;2 and to try every spirit whether it be of God 3 Let us, then, cheerfully accept the invitation, and obey the command. And the God that answers by fire; by the fiery trial of examination; by the light of penetrating and discriminating reason ; by clear and convincing argument, let him be God. Let that be TRUTH. Let us fiy from those regions of ignorance and imposition, in whose dominiion, reason is condemned; knaves only reign, and only fools obey : where all is discord, perplexity, and mystery.
The man who attempts to expose a popular error, has, I gr8 many difficulties to encounter-many obstacles to withs'