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are no orators.
Those Clergymen, who, like Dr. Clarke and his follower, the author of the Appeal, do by their own confession believe twa different Gods, while they falsely accuse us of believing Three, would undoubtedly be very glad to be well rid of a Trinity in Unity; as the Turks were, when they took the religion of Mahomet into the place of it. And if they should at length prevail, by dint of popular clamour and importunity, of which some wonderful effects have been seen in this kingdom, the Turks, and the Jews too, would congratulate them upon their victory; and so would every determined Deift and Atheist in the nation. Yet, after all, none of them would worship that imagined inferior Deity, whom this author would persuade you to worship.
I believe it also to be very true, that they would, as their advocate tells you, be very glad of your alifance. And I have been considering with myself in what form and 'manner your assistance can be administered. They can hardly mean, that you should aslift them with the pen, and write books upon Reformation ; for very few amongst you are scholars : nor with the tongue, for you
And I know not how you can assist them otherwise, except it be with fire and sword, as the reformed Clergy were aflisted in the last century, when loyalty was malignity, and episcopacy was anti-christianity, and the most miserable oppression and flavery of two thirds of the people, was celebrated as a state of Christian liberty to the prevailing party.
We know but too well, that the Gospel, with all its doctrines, is an insupportable burden to those who do not believe it: and so is the law of the land to those who do not like to be under the restraint of it. Some men are fond of liberty in one shape, and fome in another. Some think as they please; and others act as they please. This latter sort of people, many of whom are groaning under the weight of political forms, would also be very glad of your assistance toward amending the constitution, and restoring gentlemen to that state of freedom, in which they might follow their consciences without any danger. And, perhaps, they would not object to your assistance as unwarrantable in the facred cause of liberty, though you should accomplish their purposes by pulling the magistrate from his chair, the judge from his bench, the two houses of parliament from their seats, and the King from his throne.
These are the prospects I have before my eyes, when I hear Dejsts and Socinians haranguing the public upon the subjects of
Conscience and Imposition : which prospects having been once realized in this Church and Kingdom, cannot be deemed altogether chimerical. Such popular reasonings as I have now been contending with, have already produced the most fatal confequences, to the triumph of the Papists, and the scandal of the Reformation : they have deceived you once: and unless you are upon your guard, they will deceive you again : and the last error shall be worse than the first ; worse in itself, and worse in its confequences. It pleased God to deliver the Church from its captivity under the Puritans, and the people from their infatuation : but if experiments, when they have been tried, leave us no wiser, or, perhaps, not so wise as they found us, it is much to be questioned whether we shall again meet with the like indulgence: at least, it will be safelt always to bear in mind that course of divine Providence in a similar instance, proposed as a warning 10 all Christians by the apostle St. Jude, How that the Lord having saved the people out of the land of Egypt, afterwards destroyed tbem that believed not.
Those authors who would stir you up to feditious motions, make you so many fair speeches, and lay claim to so much candor and charity, that you may easily mistake them for your best friends. But I must now leave you to judge for yourselves, whether a writer, who lies sculking in the dark, under a nameless title-page, can really love you better than one who is not afraid to subscribe his name at length to what he has written, and is exposing himself for your fakes to be reviled and persecuted in the monthly publications of infidel Critics, who on account of the information I have here given you, with a desire to clear away fome of that dust, which they and their friends are perpetually throwing into your eyes, will find, if pollible, some worse names for me than they have ever done yet. They have expressed their wrath against me more than once or twice ; and probably they will now do it again. But a little more ill language will do me no harm; and if I can do you any good at such an expence, it will all be chearfully taken by your
Very sincere Friend,
And most affectionate
GROWTH OF HEATHENIS M
LETTER TO A FRIEND AT OXFORD.
Humbly recommended to the serious Consideration of all those who are
entrusted with the EDUCATION OF YOUTH.
By a PRESBYTER of the CHURCH of ENGLAND.
ADVË RTIS EM E N T.
THE Reader may be shocked when he is, told, that there is a disposition to Heathenism in an age of so much improvement, and pronounce the accusation improbable and visionary; but he is requested to weigh impartially the facts here offered, and then to form his judgment. The following Lefter was intended only for the inspection of a friend; but if there is any tendency in the public to such a peculiar kind of corruption, as is here pointed out, they ought to have some warning of it; and therefore it has been judged that the prefent publication can be neither imperfinent nor unfeafonable.
The present Edition of this Letter, in the year 1794, is more seasonable than the first ; now we have been witness to the proSane affectation of Heathen manners by the Philosophers of France; . with its malignant effects on Religion, Government, and the Peace of the Christian werld