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Hile so many Learned Pens are employed

to such excellent purpose, in answering the

Writings, and confuting the Doctrines and Practices of the Church of Rome, I cannot but think it a very useful Work to give some plain Directions to those, who are Unlearned, who have neither Time to Read, nor Money to Buy, nor Abilities to Understand more Learned Contró verhes. Our Divines indeed have taken great care to write Short Tracts, with great Plainness and Perspicuity, and with as little unnecessary few of Learning as may be, to fit them the better for Unlearned Readers ; and they have bad, by the blessing of God, wonderful Success ; Popery was neverso generally understood, as it is at this day; the meanest Tradesmen can now dispute against Popery with Jufficient Skill and Judgment, and need not be beholding to the prejudices of Education to secure them: and therefore my business Shail not be at present down-right to State any one Controverfie be

tween hear

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tween us, and the Church of Rome, but to direct our People how to fecure themselves against the Attaques of our Roman Adverfaries, to check their conferring and disputing Humour, or to baffle them. I Mall reduce all into as plain a Method and as short a Compass as I can, and shew,

First, How to stop them at the beginning of their Dispute.

Secondly, Give fome Rules about the Topicks, from which they Dispute, such as Reason Scripture, and the Authority of the Ancient Fathers and Writers of the Church.

Thirdly, How to Answer some of their most popular Pretences, such as the Uncertainty of the Protestant Religion, the Mis-representations of Popery, &c.

Fourthly, To give fome fhort Directions as to particular Controverhes.

NOW

C H A P. . .
How Protestants may prevent Disputing with

Papists.
TOw I do not by this mean, that they should always

avoid their Company, and run away from them where-ever they meet them, which is very ill Manners; though it is not adviseable neither to court fuch Acquaintance, or to make them our Intimates, when neither the Obligations of Nature, nor other Civil or Political Reafons make it necessary; for Conversation many times prevails more than Arguments can do, and will as soon corrupt Mens Faith, as Manners.

Nor do I mean, that Protestants fhould obstinately rehife to Discourse with Papists when they meet them; to hear what they have to say for themselves, and to give a Reason for their own Faith ; this is not agreeable to Protestant Principles, To prove all things, and to hold fast that which is good : and yet this ought to be done with great prudence and caution too; for there are a sort of perverse Disputers, who are to be avoided according to the Apostolick Precept, If any man teach otherwise and consent not to wholsome words, even the words of our Lord JeSus Christ, and to the doctrine which is according to godlines ; he is proud, knowing nothing, but doting about questions and strife of words, whereof cometh envy, strife, railings, evil Jurmijng, perverse disputing of men of corrupt minds, and destitute of the truth, supposing, that gain is godlines ; from Such withdraw thy self, i Tim. 6. 3,4,5.

Men of weak Judgments, and who are not skilled in the Laws of Disputation, may easily be imposed on by cunning Sophisters, and such as lie in wait to Deceive: The Church of Rome is very sensible of this, and therefore will not suffer her People to dispute their Religion, or to read Heretical Books, nay not so much as to look into the Bible it self; but though we allow all this to our People, as that which God not only allows, but requires, and which all considering Men will allow themselves, whoever forbids it; yet we do not allow them to be perpetual Seekers, to be always doubtful of their Religion, to be like children tossed too and fro with every wind of Das &trine. And therefore the liberty of Judging and Inquiring, which we allow, is only that they may understand the true Reasons of their Faith, and be well grounded in it, which men may be, who are not able to answer every cavilling Objection ; but it is an abuse of this liberty, when men have įtching Ears, and hearken after all No velties of Opinions, and grow wanton and sceptical Difputers; and therefore it is very confiftent with that liber

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ty, which Protestants allow, to advise Christians to be very careful how they hearken to such as Preach any new Doctrine, which they have not been taught; that the weak in Faith and Knowledge should not venture upon doubtful Disputations; that they lhould not be hasty to question what they have believed, nor to give heed to new Doctrines ; that they should not rely on their own understanding in these matters, but when they meet with any

difficulties, should consult their Spiritual Guides, not to be finally determined by their Authority, as the Church of Rome requires, but to hear their Reasons, and what Answers they can give to such difficulties, as they themselves cannot answer. With such Cautions as these, we dare venture our People to hear, and read, and enquire, as much as they please, and have not found yet, that our Roman Adverfaries have been able to make

any great impression upon such honest and prudent Inquirers. But that which I intend at present, is of another nature, to teach our People a Way to make these men fick of Difputing themselves, to make them leave off those Impertinent and Noisie Squabbles, with which they disturb all Company they come into: and this is no such mighty Secret neither, as may be expected, but is very plain

and obvious at the first proposal.

For when you are assaulted by such troublesome Die {puters, only ask them, Whether they will allow

you to Judge for your felves in matters of Religion? if they will not,

why do they trouble you with Dispuring? for the end of Disputing, is to convince; and you cannot be convinced, unless you may Judge too. Would they dispute with a Stone, that can neither hear, nor understand? or would they make a Speech to convince a Horse, that he is out of his way, and must take another Road, if he would return home? And do not they talk to as little purpose,

and

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