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VINDICATION

· OF: THE

Government, Doctrine,

&c.

INTRODUCTION.

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N Hearty Union and Friendship among Protestants (could such a Blessing be obtain'd) must prove highly advantageous to the Inte

rest of true Religion. This, in all human Probability, would continue it where it already is, and spread it in those Places where now it is not received. Enemies, as well as Friends, concur in this Opinion. The unwearied Endeavours of Papists from the Beginning of the Reformation, to

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divide

divide the Protestants, plainly enough shew their Sentiments upon this Head. In how many Shapes have they appear'd? What Pretences, what Intrigue, what Disguise have they not employ'd, to begin or carry on those Animosities, in which they have found too great Success? 'Tis rather to be wish'd than expected, that all who have separated from the Church of Rome should agree in the fame Opinions, or the same external Rites; but in mutual Forbearance and Charity they may all concur. 'Tis more than time they should; Duty as well as Interest oblige them to it. While Popery is gaining continually upon the declining Interest of the Reformation; while our perfecuted Brethren feel, in the most sensible manner, the daily Progress of this cruel Superstition upon the Continent; and while the Emiffarics of Rome are so far from being inactive in this Ifand, at such a Juncture 'tis extreamly unfeasonable, and may

be very prejudicial, to kindle or revive any Disputes among those of the same Faith. No Benefit fure can arife to the general Interest of Protestantism, from endeavouring to convince its Adverfaries, that different Parties of Proteftants have treated one another as severely as Papists have treated them

all.

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all. If the Original of these unhappy Disputes was in the main very inhgnificant or groundless, the Revival of them is still more improper. For the fake of Christianity, therefore, and the Protestant Cause, 'tis to be hoped, that every Attempt to awaken the Passions of Mankind upon such Points, will be for ever discouraged by the Friends of Truth and Liberty. Why should Protestants bite and devour? why calumniate or reproach each other? or why endeavour to afperfe and blacken the great Founders of the Reformation ? The common Enemy can do enough of This. 'Tis pity a History of the Puritans lately published by Daniel Neal, M. A. should give Occasion for such Reflections! If either Party has offended, as it may be each in its Turn has done, fince thofe Offences now cease, let them be buried in eternal Oblivion; not only be forgiven, but absolutely forgot. Iliacos intra muros peccatur & extra. If the Laws were somewhat severe upon the Puritans, they, when they had got the Power into their own Hands, took ample Revenge contrary to Law. Thefe things are past; for the future, if the Nation is not to be blefs'd with a more perfect Agreement, yet, as Chriftians, and as Protestants, let us

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join

join our best Endeavours in the impor: tant Cause of Christianity, Protestantism, and practical Religion. When united Attempts have got the better of the Infidelity and Immorality of the Age (which certainly demand the first Regard) it will then be time enough for Fellow-Christians and Fellow-Protestants to dispute Matters of so little Consequence as an Organ or a Surplice, a square Cap, or a Gold Ring. It may even then be too soon to engage the Minds of people upon Subjects of so little Moment; but, at present, 'tis, upon many Accounts, greatly unfeasonable and improper. Contentions of this Sort, among many other Evils, are apt to produce a Coldness and Disregard for the necessary Duties of Piety and Virtue. Men of all Persuasions are too prone to fall into this Mistake, and substitute a disproportion'd Zeal against, as well as for, the external and disputed Parts of Religion, in the Place of true Devotion and real Goodness. When the Mind is thus warmly engaged in fuch Disputes, either on one Side or the other, it generally becomes too careless of more weighty Matters. Nor is this Effect at all unnatural. One of the common Arts in this religious Controversy (for even that, to the great

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