Neal - Houston-Packer Collection BX9333 .N4 1754 v1

P R E F A C E the charge of impftion, and by relieving the clergy, fson a part of their work, which has given f me of them very great uneafinefs : But I am chiefly concerned for the honour of religion and public virtue, which is wounded hereby in the houfe of its friends. If therefore (as fame conceive) the facramental teft be a national blemifh, I humbly conceive, with all due fubmifon, the removal of it would be a public bleying. The prote/lant non-conform f s obferve with pleafure the right reverend fathers of the church owning the caufe of religious liberty, " that private " judgment ought to be formed upon examination, and that religion is " a free and unforced thing." Andwe fincerely join with the lord bi- fhop of Litchfield and Coventry *, in the preface to his excellent vindica- tion of the miracles of our blfed Saviour, " in congratulating our coun-Ibid. II. p. " try on the enjoyment of their civil and eccleejaflical liberties within their 15. " juft and reafonable bounds, as the mog valuable blellings ;" though we are not fully fatified with the reafonablenefs of thofe bounds his lordjhip has fixed. Godforbid! that any among us fhould be patrons of open prophane- nef, irreligion, fcurrility, or ill manners to the egablilhed religion of the nation ; much lefi that we fhould countenance any who blafphemoufly revile the founder of it, or who deride whatfoever is facred. No, we have a fervent zeal for the honour of our Lord and matter, and are defirous to contend earnefily for the faith once delivered to the faints with all forts offpiritual weapons ; but we do not yet fie a necellity of flopping the mouths of the adverfaries of our holy religion with fines and imprifanments, even though to their own infamy and fhame they treat it with indecency: Let fcandal and ill manners be punt/bed as it deferues, but let not men be terrifiedfrom fpeaking out their doubts, or propo/ng their obje5lions a- gainfi thegofpel revelation, which we are fure will bear a thorough exami- nation; and though the late ungenerous attacks upon the miracles of our bleed Saviour, may have had an ill influence upon the giddy and unthink- ing youth of the age, they have given occafian to the publifhing fah a num- ber of incomparable defences of chrißianity, as have confirmed the faith of many, andmull fatisfy the minds of all reafonable enquirers after truth. Nor dowe think it right to fix the boundaries of religious liberty upon Pref. p. S. the degree of people's differing from the national efl:ablifhment, becaufe Enthufiafls or Jews have .an equal right with chriflians to worfhip God in their own way; to defend their own peculiar dotlrines; and to enjoy the public protection ; as long as they keep the peace, and maintain no principles manifeftly inconfiftent witb,tbe fafetyof the government they live under. But is lordfhip apprehends be has a chain of demonfrable propftions to Ibid. p.g. maintain his boundaries, he obferves, " a. That the true ends of govern- b a " ment Dr. Smallbrock.