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their confciences; but I cannot but lament, that so many ingenious perfons fhould be zealously lowering our Saviour in the opinion of his followers. The higher opinion his followers entertain of him, the more willing will they be to obey him. What good can ensue from teaching wretched human creatures to think lefs highly of him, to whom they have been taught from their youth to look up for comfort in the day of diftrefs, and at the approach of death? What evil can enfue from paying him higher honours than he night poffibly claim? This may shew our gratitude at leaft; and if it be an error, must be venial. It would be better to dispute lefs eagerly, and love and obey more faithfully.
It is, I think, the great purpose of religion, to afford poor human nature (ægris mortalibus *) a BALSAM FOR THE WOUNDS OF THE HEART. A dependence on the divinity of Jefus Chrift, and the affiftance of the Holy Spirit, affords that balfam to thousands and tens of thousands of our fellow-creatures in affliction, to whom life would be scarcely supportable without it. Let not then the learned and ingenious labour to extract so
fweet an ingredient from the cup of life. Let them rather exert themselves in confirming and extending the falutary belief, than in deftroying it. All human creatures, at fome period of their chequered lives, want every fupport that can be found. Religious hope is a main column in the fabric of human felicity. Let the good builder add ftrength to its foundations, but never undermine it.
Let us walk in the good old paths, which our fathers pointed out to us, whenever we can walk in them with perfect fafety. They lead to the pleasant regions of hope and peace. And in the journey of life, let us take especial care, not to fall out by the way; and particularly, when the subjects of dispute are fpeculative truths, on which abfolute certainty may not perhaps be attainable on this side of the grave.
Did not fuppofe it poffible that the preceding advertisement could give offence. I thought it, and still think it, perfectly harmlefs. It appears, however, to have irritated fome perfons, who ftand forward the selfcommiffioned champions of Unitarianifm. Like valorous knights, at the gates of a citadel, they poft themselves at the avenues to the public, with fwords drawn, ready to cut down every one who dares to advance, however peaceably, an avowed believer in doctrines, very innocent in themselves, and handed down to him by his forefathers as a facred and unalienable depofit.
I folemnly declare, that, in the above advertisement, I intended to give no offence to any man or fect; and, with the fhield of that consciousness, I am easy under the attacks of angry antagonists, whom I never justly provoked; and fome of whom, as they fhoot 13 their
their arrows in the dark, it is not easy, even if it were worth while, to repel. Happily it is not worth while; for what have the public to do with the virulence of perfonal altercation? He, indeed, who, on a religious fubject, defcends to infinuations, perfonally malignant, deferves, and requires, no anfwer.
To controversy I have already expreffed a diflike. And that I may be countenanced in my fettled averfion to it by authority, I here quote and adopt the opinions of a very found divine, and no lefs excellent man, Archbishop Wake:
"There is fomething in the nature of con"troverfial writing fo corruptive of morality, fo apt to deftroy fome of the noblest graces of a Christian life, that I look upon "the cafe to be much the fame in that, as it "is in other wars; and that nothing less than abfolute neceffity ought to engage a good man in either. What temptations it mi"nifters to pride and paffion, to malice and " uncharitablenefs; to falfenefs and infince"rity; and what occafions it too often "affords to thofe, who do not come with a "large portion of calmness and integrity to "the management of it, for the most inde"cent mifcarriages in fome or all of these
"particulars, I shall not need to fay: I would "to God our own times had not given us CC too many inftances of it; to the fcandal of
our religion, as well as to the just cenfure "of thofe who have allowed themfelves fuch "liberties as nothing can excufe; and it is "to be hoped, when they fhall feriously re"flect upon what they have done, they will "be themselves the moft forward of
"But of all the kinds of controversies, as there are usually none more unreason"able, fo neither are there any which a man
would lefs defire to be engaged in, than "those which arife among fuch as are mem"bers of the fame church, as well as of the "fame fociety; and have thereby the strictest obligations lying upon them to love and unity with one another. In fuch disputes as thefe, every good man would defire the "office of a peace-maker rather than of a litigant; and account it a greater honour, as well as happiness, upon any reason"able terms, to put an end to a debate, "than to obtain a victory; which, whatever other circumftances it might have 66 to recommend it, would want this, with66 out which all the reft would be of little "value, that the breach continues; the bro