Abernathy - Houston-Packer Collection BX9178.A33 S4 1748 v.1

xlvi The PREFACE. of moderation and liberty, had reafon to rejoice in the vifible fuperiority the Bifhop had over his antagonifts, in point of argu- spent; and many were fet a thinking about thefe matters, who had not much minded them before. A fpirit of chriflian liberty and charity, did very remarkably diffufe it felf. And upon this occafion, a confide. rable number of minifters, and others in the north, formed themfelves into a fociety, much of the fame nature, and confrfting for molt part of the fame perfons, with that mentioned in the beginning of this preface. Their defign was, improvement in ufeful knowledge; and, in order to that, to bring things to the teft of reafon and fcripture, without a fervile regard to any human au- thority ; a defign, which muff be approved by all men of candor, as a good one, and which could not but be very friendly, both to the caufe of truth and liberty. Mr. Abernethy went into this defign with much zeal: He conftantly attended the meetings of the fociety (which, as they were fre- quently in Belfafl, it being the mofi cen- trical place, thefe gentlemen came . to be called the Belfafl- fociety) and no man con- tributed more to the true ends of it. SEVE-