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clusions and their own, the good and wise of all persuasions will revere that industry, which has for its object the illustration or defence of our common Christianity. Your Lordship’s researches have never lost fight of one purpose, namely, to recover the fimplicity of the gospel from beneath that load of unauthorized additions, which the ignorance of some ages, and the learning of others, the superstition of weak, and the craft of designing men, have (unhappily for its interest) heaped upon it. And this purpose, I am convinced, was dictated by the purest motive ; by a firm, and, I think, a juft opinion, that whatever renders religion more rational, renders it more credible ; that he, who, by a diligent and faithful examination of the a 4

original original records, dismisses from the fyft tem one article, which contradicts the apprehension, the experience, or the reasoning of mankind, does more towards recommending the belief, and, with the belief, the influence of Chrif

tianity, to the understandings and con-fciences of serious inquirers, and through them to universal reception and authority, than can be effected by a thousand contenders for creeds and ordinances of human establishment. · When the doctrine of transubstantiation had taken possession of the Chriftian world, it was not without the industry of learned men that it came at: length to be discovered, that no such do&rine was contained in the New Teftament. But had those excellent per


fons done nothing more by their disco-
very, than abolished an innocent super-
ftition, or changed some directions in
the ceremonial of public worship, they
had merited little of that veneration,
with which the gratitude of protestant
churches remembers, their services. What
they did for mankind was this, they ex-
onerated Christianity of a weight which
funk it. If indolence or timidity had
checked these exertions, or suppressed
the fruit and publication of these in-
quiries, is it too much to affirm, that
infidelity would at this day have been
universal ?
i. I do not mean, my Lord, by the
i mention of this example, to insinuate,
that any popular opinion which your
Lordship may have encountered, ought

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- to be compared with transubstantiation, or that the assurance with which we reject that extravagant abfurdity, is attainable in the controversies in which your Lordship has been engaged: but I mean, by calling to mind those great reformers of the public faith, to observe, or rather to express my own persuasion, that to restore the purity, is most effectually to promote the progress of Christianity; and that the same virtuous motive, which hath sanctified their labours, suggested yours. At a time when some men appear not to perceive any good, and others to suspect an evil tendency, in that spirit of examination and research which is gone forth in Christian countries, this testimony is become due not only to the probity of your Lordship’s views, but to the general cause of intellectual and religious liberty.

That your Lordship’s life may be prolonged in health and honour; that it may continue to afford an instructive proof, how serene and easy old age can be made, by the memory of important and well intended labours, by the possession of public and deserved esteem, by the presence of many grateful relatives; above all, by the resources of religion, by an unshaken confidence in the designs of a “ faithful Creator," and a settled trust in the truth and in the promises of Christianity, is the fervent prayer of, my Lord,

Your Lordship’s dutiful,

Most obliged,
And most devoted servant,


Feb. 10, 1785.

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