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AM not insensible, impartial Reader, that this is an age in which books of religious controversy

are little read, let the question in debate be ever so interesting and important. Various reasons may be assigned for it; but the principal of them are, I apprehend, the reigning taste for Novel and Romance, and the intemperate zeal with which inost subjects of controversy are treated. The combatants, on both fides,, most commonly contend for victory, not for truth; for the defence of their party, not for the real improvement of their minds. Besides this, they have often in view some temporal advantage, which, if they are confuted and disgraced, they will certainly lose, or if they are successful,, they eagerly expect to obtain.

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It perhaps becomes no writer to say, he has nothing of this kind in view, because the faireft professions of a regard for truth, will not be easily credited, since too many who have made such professions, have been found, in the ifsue, to be impostors.

But, whenever a polemical writer labours rather to pervert, than fairly represent the meaning of his opponent; when he declaims more than he argues ; when he deals more in contemptuous epithets and illnatured censures, than in plain reasoning upon the points in debate : it will be too evident, to all confiderate men, that either his cause is indefenfible, or his taste very low and illiberal. Whether this be ap plicable to Mr. 7. Phipps, who has written observa tions * upon my epistle up to the Author of a letter to Dr. Formey #, is not for me to say; the reader may judge for himself, from the few specimens which will be given in the following work, or by reading Mr. Phipps's pamphlet.

Indeed, upon first perusing his observations, which came out a considerable time after I had read my own letter, I was greatly surprized, and really thought, I inust in a strange manner have expressed my ideas, to the prejudice of that which I thought in my conscience to be the truth of God : But, on taking up my letter, and comparing it, page by page, with Mr. Phipps's performance, though I saw one or two instances where I had expressed myself unguardedly and improperly, and several

, where my thoughts might have been represented in a more easy and agree

• Printed and fold by Mary Hinde, No. 2. in George-Yard, Lombard street, London

+ Printed at Norwich, by Richard Beatniffe, and fold by R. Baldwin, London,

I Printed for W. Nicoll, in St Paul's Church Yard, London: This pamphlet is faid to be written by one Ms, Bealley.

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able manner ; yet I was rather pleased with the plainness and justness of most of my objections to Quakerism, and was fully convinced, that my opponent was more artful than fair, more severe than just, in his animadversions, and more determined to maintain, at all adventures, the credit and interest of his party, than to submit to the force of evidence, and acknowledge the conviction of the truth. : What realon I had for drawing this conclusion, the reader may dif cover by the perusal of the following sheets,

It has often been observed, that, such is the peculiar nature of truth, that, it never suffers by meeting with opposition, but the more it is tried, the more it is approved ; as true heroism and courage are best displayed by the sharpest conflicts. In this age, then, when Enthusiasm and Deism, the two extremes (which, it has often been remarked, sometimes meet in the same centre), greatly abound; it cannot be thought, with any justice, an odious undertaking, though it be not so well executed, to endeavour to set forth the important difference, which, I apprehend, there is between the simple religion of Jesus and his Apostles, and that of Robert Barclay and his zealous followers. For, if I am mistaken, Barclay's (cheme will not be injured, as he has many fond vo; taries, who want neither inclination nor ability to defend him : If, upon an examination, it should ap: pear I have, upon the whole, the Bible, reason, and experience, on my fide, then, not only the Quakers system will be affected, but, that of all other enthu. liasts, which is founded upon a supposed saving inAuence of the Holy Spirit, without the instrumentality of the plain declarations.of Scripture,

It has long appeared to me, that many serious and worthy persons, among Churchmen, Diffenters, and

Methodists,

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Methodifts, though they may use different termins and might not have attended to the fubject carefully, are acting upon the fame mystical and antifcriptural principles, which are extracted from the notion of * the Spirit within," and compose the very eflence of Quakerism. But, if they will give theinfelves the trouble to peruse this 'treatise, they may possibly be led to see some of their mistakes, be convinced of the neceffity and importance of revealed truth, and, consequently, live more comfortably and confiftently.

I am sensible, however, that, if any person has adopted a plan of religion, which he is pursuing with much seriousness and devotion, that is neithet built upon, nor agreeable to, the New Testainent, though he may boast of its utility and perfection, and "ufe' iñany Scripture-terms to express it, he will find nothing in this treatise which will at first suit his taste, and countenance his principles': But, if he should be open to conviction, there may be fome+ thing found in it; which may be the instrument, or happy occasion, under God, of affording him fome useful instruction,

If there be any who have wrought themselves up to such a pitch of self-estimation, as to think them felves infallible, they had better not peruse it; for it will most likely raise their indignation, and excite them to pronounce the most folemn cenfures upon the writer : But these, in this free country, will be of no bad confequence to him.

I remember to have read somewhere, that; two dignified French Clergymen were in company with a learned sensible Englishman, and the conversation turned upon the literary productions of their respective nations, The Frenchmen particularized pume

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FÖRes performances which their countrymen had produced, and extolled their excellencies with the most forid panegyricks: They took up so much of the conversation, that the honeft Briton had no opportu. rity of fpeaking for some time. At length, the vene Fable Clergyınen finifhied their orations, and waited for our countryman's fentiments : Upon which, he addressed them in this manner; “Gentlemen, there

are, in my opinion, but two subjects worthy the « serious investigation of a scholar, a gentleman, and « a man of found judgment, and these are RELI6 ĜION and CIVIL GOVERNMENT; but

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well know, a Frenchman dares not write with freedom on 6 either.”

Of these two subjects, the former, I think, is as much to be preferred to the latter, as the soul is to the body, or eternity to the short and uncertain duration of human life. 'In a land, therefore, where we have no slavith restraint laid upon our tongues or pens, we may freely discuss any religious subject, without dread, ing the cruel persecution of Priests, or the haughty censures of Bigots, All the injury either can do us, is by the undermining policy of secret influence, or by the diabolical arts of private slander, which, it is too well known, fome, in all fects of professed ChriItians, will occasionally practice, though they openly disavow every species of perfecuting.

It is true, there are many sentiments, forms and fites, which have been called religious by people of all persuasions ; and some of these professors have honestly, though ignorantly, thought them of the greatest importance to mankind : But, with all perfons, who really believe the Bible to contain the writings of men who were infallibly directed by the Spirit of the Almighty, whilst dictating or penning

them,

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