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he fays of himself is, that he is an " obscure* One, I suppose, he mean*, that is in the dark, and thinks it proper to continue so, that he may take advantage from thence to attack the reputation of others, without hazardirsg his own.. There may be somewhat of wisdom, perhaps; but sure there is little of goodness, or fairness, in this etmduct. Several such Obscure persons as these we have had ctf late, who have insulted men of great abilities and Worth, and takers pleasure to pels them, frorri their coverts, with little objections. The ill firtcefi Of their attempts harth justisied their prudence in concealing themselves.

Whoever my unknown correspondent be, he presses hard for an answer .f, and is so earliest fa •that point, that he would, I perceive, be riot a little disappointed, if he stiould mrss of it. Nameless authors have no right to make such dermtmfe. However, the importance of the argument itself, the serious air with which he hath treated of it, and the solemn profession he makes of being acted by " r.o other principle but a concern for truth!/" soon determined me to comply with his exhortations. And what follows, therefore, Was drawn, Up not long after his letter appeared; though the publication of it hath been delayed by some a^cidi r.ts, with an account of vhrch it is not necessary to trouble the reader. ifter al!, I ssiall be looked upon, perhaps, as writing rather too soon, than too late; and as paying too great a regard to an attempt, which was lo s.ir flighted, that the worthy dean of Cmttrhit?, not long afterwards, preached the doctrine, there oppos» htt })■ 4. f Lei. p. s. 44i 4J. t Ibid.


birfbse her majesty, and printed it by her o»4tt *. And in' truth there ntver was a charge Driafartarhe'd tthb such a shew os gravity and earnestness, whkh had 3 stighter foundation to supperrt it. However, it may be os some use, carefnfiy set examine what this writer hath iaid, in efder, by a remarkable instance, to ihew ho# little credit isdue to accufations of this kin J, when they come from suspected (that is, from nameless) pens; and how artfully the mask of religion m,iy sometimes be put on, to cover designs which cannot be decently owned.

That part of my sermon to which the letterwriter hath consined his reflections, contains the explication of an argument, which I suppose employed by the apostle, in the text, sor the proof is a future state. And I had reason therefore to hope, that what I offered on this head, w iuld be favourably received, and candidly interpreted, by all such as did in good earnest believe such a state, And yet, to my suprize, 1 have found one, who would be thought seriously to entertain this belief, endeavouring all he can to weaken an argument (and indeed the chief argument drawn from reason alone) by which it is upheld. I might have expected this treatment indeed from the pen of some libertine, or disguised unbeliever; it being an usual piece of art, with that sort of men, to undermine the authority of fundamental truths, by pretending to shew, how weak and improper the proofs are, which their assertors employ in the defence of them. But I did not, and could

* See his sermon at St Jamest, I\ov. 3. 1706. Od Matth, si. xi. p. ii, ti, 13.

not, not expect such ufage from a writer, who every where insinuates, and in one place* I think, pretty plainly prq/ejscs, himself to be a sincere Christian. His concern for the cause of religion \ would have appeared to far greater advantage, had he employed himself rather in vindicating some of its great principles, which are every day openly and daringly attacked from the press, than in lessening the force of what Thave urged in behalf of one of them. Had I erred in this cafe, it had been a well-meant mistake; and might have passed unobserved, at a time, when insidelity sinds so much employment of another kind for all those, who have a real concern for the cause of rtiig o \

Besides, discourses on such occasions, as that on which I then preached, are seldom the productions of leisure; and should always therefore he read with those favourable allowances, which are made to hasty composures. So the doctrine contained in them be but wholesome and edifying, though there should be a want of exactness, here and there, either in the manner of speaking or reasoning, it may be overlooked, or pardoned.

When any argument of great importance i« 'managed with that warmth and earnestness, which a serious conviction of it generally inspires, somewhat may easily escape, even from a wary pen, which will not bear the test of a severe scrutiny, F.ici/e es ver hum aliquod ardens r,otare, idque, re~ JlinEIis (ut it a dichm) animorum incendiis, irridere i faid one of the best writers in the world,

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who himself needed this excuse as seldom as any man.

In particular, what I osfered on that oceasion towards the proof of a future state, deserved to be the less rigorously examined, because it was only by way of introduction to some practical points, which 1 chiefly designed to insist on. I had not room in a few pages, at the entrance of a short discourse, to consider all things on all Jides *, to balance the several advantages and difadvnntages that attend the pleasures of men and beasts good men and bad. I pretended not fully to state f, much less demonstrate, the truth contained in the text, as I am falsly represented % to have done. Those are words which I never once used; nor would the task itself have been proper at such a time, and before such an auditory. My declared intention was only to explain the apostle's arguments to enlarge ut it*, toshew, by several instances, the undoubted truth of it f, to open and mpi ly it %; and this, by such considerations chiefly as were in some measure applicable to the person then to be interred. For whoever gives himself the trouble of reviewing that mean discourse, will $nd, that, as it consists of three parts, a speculative pomt of doctrine, some practical re flections t and an account of the person deceased; so the two former of these points are handled with a regard to the latter; the practical reflections being all of them such as are suited to the character of the person, which follows; and the preceding doctrine

* Let. p. »i. f P- »i■ I P. tt, »i, 4», ||, g Ser. tt »• 1 8. p.. il. f & P» 3- i ftii.

being being illustrated in such a manner, and by focj^ instances, as naturally lead both to the one and ftp', the other { that part of the doctrine I particularly mean, which is profestediy built on the letter of the text *, and the express authority off the §r jppftie.

It is no wonder, if, in an argument bandles thus briefly, and with such views as these, <e*e*y thing should not be faid, which may be thought Requisite; to clear it. That, as it was no part .of pay intention, se> neither was it necessary, proper, or poffible, on that occasion (to be dos^; a#4 therefore, for omissions of this kind, I need sna kf no excuse. As to the other parts of the .charge, •jyhich, if true, would really bjenaish whal | hav^s {written; I {hall, as I promised, reply to tb,e# wery disti ictly and fully.

The accusation of my doctrine turn*, I find, topon three head,s; That it is altogethei ■* new, utr iterly fo reign frora the intention of the apostle,"^ whose wonds I 'bui'd it, "and f alse in itself." £ .*ery heavy .charge i nor is the sirst part of it to hjp ■laeglected. For in matters of morality and religion, which are every one's concern, and whicjl .lave, therefore, been often and thoroughly examined, newdoctrinesor arguments are deser*«dly suspected. And when one, who is by his fwaer *ion, a preacher of (virtue, rfUtth, 'by »dvm&&£ '$\,ch new doctrines or argument, " maice cortcaS4»ons to the icause of »ice (as J am faid .to haiue <k,ne) she is doubly criminal. £rft u.s!JCee# *h«csfore, what 1 have laid down in that Sermon, how

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