Sidebilder
PDF
ePub

desire you,

and my

[ocr errors]

ha

EPISTLE to the AUTHOR

Readers, of whom tam fure you'll be one, to consider my

Preface rather as another Book, than a Preface; and to that end I have see the Contents of it be fore it, as Writers commonly do before their Books. Could I have forefeen it would have been so long, I would have made it a Book by it self, but however I think it is all one to the Reader, and the Interests of Truth, whether he hath an Answer to your Book in a joint, or a separate Treatise ; and those who think it not worth the while to read such an Answer under the Title of a Preface, would, I believe, have as little mind to read it, if it were published singly in a diftinct Book.

When you please, Sir, to make a Reply, I hope you'll put your Name to it, aš have put mine to this book, and thereby shew the World, that you are neither alham'd or afraid to own what you have written in your Book of the Rights, or the Preface to it, or to appear in the defence of them. Aham'd you ought not to be for discovering a Craft, I mean the Craft of Priests, who, if you write Truth, have bubbl'd and cheated the World, at least ever since the Priestly Office was divided from the Regal ; nor ought you to be afraid for publishing wholesome and seasonable Doctrines, to deliver Mankind from the Slavery of an usurped Power, under which, if Men will believe it, it bath been so long

[merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors]

in Ægyptian Bondage. But if the World should be so blind, and ungrateful, as to persecute their Deliverer, would not your Sufferings carry a Reward of great Glory with them? And would it not be for your everlasting Honour to be a Confeffor for detecting such Errors as you pretend to refute ? Pray, Sir, remember that Socrates, who dy'd for one great Tryth, hath had not only Statues ere&ted, but Medals ftruck for the Honour of his Memory, and by his Sufferings hath left such a glorious Idea of himself in the Minds of Men, that his Name hath been transmitted to. Posterity, like the Pi&ures of Saints, with a Glory about it, and to this day is not mentioned but with such Honour, as is usually paid to the Memories of such excellent Men, as were, or endeavoured to be Reformers of their Country, and Benefactors to Mankind. Sir, remember his great Example, and fear not at a venture to publish your Name, that it may for ever live, and be venerable with his, who attempted to deliver his Country, truly Priest-ridden, from the Religious Slavery, and Impositions of crafty Priests. Take Courage then, Sir, and let the World know your worthy Name, that it may be immortalized with that of Mr. Bl«m's? and T', and Afs, and Stnsson and other such Hero's, whose Principles are cited in the Rehearsal, and in the Ax laid to the Root of Christianity, that you may be as glorious in your Alhes after you are dead, 20

A 3

Ons

one of them already is, and the rest, Mr. Afgil not excepted, will in a little time be.

But, Sir, you have other Reasons, and more convincing, why you need not much fear to own what you write by Name, as I have done here. But Shame and Fear set apart, Generosity and the Laws of Combat seem also to require you to put your Name to what you write. For otherwise I, and your other Antagonists,must engage against you with disadvantage, and combat you, as some are said to have fought with Ghosts, seeing only your Weapon, and the Glitterings of it, but not the Hand that weilds it ; which is thought so unequal and unfair, that very able, and skilful Writers of Controversy, have told their Adversaries in their Answers, that if they reply'd, they would take their Replys for nothing, unless they published them with their Names,

I am sure I have more reason to be afraid of owning what I have written, than you ; for if those who bave a larger Sphere of Conversation than I, tell me truth, there are now too great Numbers of almost all Ranks and Conditions, who will revile me, and persecute me, and say all manner of Evil, and with all Bitterness against me, for the sake of those old, I had almost said antiquated Principles, which I have endeavoured to defend against you, and do me all the Mischief they can. But none of these things move me ; for

[ocr errors]

I put my trust in God, whose Institutions and Truths, I think, they are, which I endeavour to maintain against you, and all others, who give themselves the Character of Men of large Thoughts, and value themselves as Free Thinkers; and who delight to misrepresent all Principles, which are uneasy to Flelh and Blood; and contrary to Worldly Interests, as unnatural; and make such a Clutter and Din among us with the Natural Rights and Liberties of Mankind. I am almost old enough to write an History of the Rise and Progress of Latitude, were it worth the while, in my own time, and I have now liv'd so long, as to fee the Comble of it in almost an utter waste of all Principles; Latitude, the Source of all Milchief, having scarce left any one Principle, but this, that there is no Principle, nor any Creed, but that One-Article Creed, which I have been told, one Libertine said was the Creed of your Club, viz. I believe all that

I can.

These, Sir, as we find from your Book, are the Men, who hate the Clergy above all Mortals, and therefore love to dress them up in the Bear-skins of terrible and odious Names, to make them frightful, and hateful to the People. These are the Men, whose Oracle you are, and whose Party-Language you speak, calling us, as you think very finely, HighChurch, High-flyers, and Ensavers of Mankind. But, Sir, to let you and your Party see, how

little

A 4

[ocr errors][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors]

Little I am concerned at those Names, let me
tell you, ļ glory in them, and here make no
difficulty to profess to be all that they truly
import, I am for the Heighth, as well as the
Breadth, and Depth of the Church, that
is built upon the Foundation of the Apo-
stles, and Prophets, Jesus Christ himself be-
ing the chief Corner-stone. I am as much

for the highest Pinnacle of it, as any other part, tho it may be you would throw me down headlong from it, if you could, as the

Jems did St. James, from the Battlements of their Temple. I also profess to be an Highfoyer, whose Endeavour is to fly

, upon th Wings of the old Principles, which

you

ridi, cule, as upon the Wings of Angels, to my Saviour, to the General Afjembly, to the Church (the High-Church) of the First-born, who are enrolled in Heaven, and to the Spirits of Just Men made perfect. And as to the last and most þarefu! Name, you'll find by my Answer, I am, as I have long been, one of those whom you miscall Ensavers of Mankind, by those stria, holy, and Primitive Doctrines, with which be that made us hath been pleased to limit the Passions, and Actions of Men, and restrain the Lusts, and Liberties of Flela and Blood.

You see, Sir, I have made a frank Confelfion to you, and therefore you ougbt not to reproach me, or be angry with me, + Error, if it be my unhappy Error, First, Be fause çonfess it, and Secandly, because I

baye

for my

« ForrigeFortsett »