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Virgil, a famous Poet of Mantua.
Xenophon, the Son of Gryllus, Distiple to Socrates, born at Athens ; he wrote many Books, and was before Chrift about Three Hundred and Fifty Years.
Zeno Eleates, a Philosopher, Son of Pyrethus ; 'tis faid, he despised all Pomp and Glory, and for Justice and Truth fake fuffered many kind of Torments. Zeno meeting a Friend of his who look'd heavily, ask'd him the Reason of it? who faid, A Friend of mine requesteth me to bear false Witness for him. What (quoth Zeno) Art thote fo foolish, that seeing him void of Shame or Fear, to request Unjuft and Wicked Things of thee, thou hast not the Heart to deny him, and to put him back, upon Fuft and Reafonable Confiderations?
Note, The Authors with this Mark * at their Names, were Christians, whose Sayings are not computed to the Number of Fifty; the whole amounting to about One Thoufand.
An Apology for the foregoing
Treatise, and those People, who neither in former Ages had, nor at this Day have the Holy Scriptures afforded ta them.
Onsidering the Nature of this
little Treatise, Intituled, Gend tile Divinity and Morality demonftrated, &c. and the Author's Design therein, namely, To Promote Piety towards God, and Righteousness among Men; one might be induced to think, that the Book should come forth with that General Acceptation, as to stand in no need of an Apology for its Publication. And yet füch are the sad Circumstances of the Times we live in, that not only, many who Profefs themselves Christians, tho' they Reproach that Profeßion by their limo
ralConversations; but also fome,who walk uprightly as towards Men, and reckon themselves- Chriftians indeed, yea, Vessels of Ele&tion, and breath nothing short of an Afurance of Eternal Blefjedness (from a Narrow Opinion they have entertain'd concerning the Covenant of Grace, and God's Love therein exhibited to the whole Race of Mankind, the unhappy Result whereof is, an Unfavourable Cenfure of that Part of the World, unto whom the Holy Scriptures have not been afforded) may be ready to object against the Author, as having a Design to introduce Deism, or what they call NatuTal Religion, in Prejudice of, or in Opposition to Seripture - Revelation. And therefore, I have thought it necessary to offer a few Things to Confideration, for Removing the Obšection, if any füch should be made, and Vindicating the Author from the Imputation of so Ungrateful a Deago.
1. First then, I desire the Reader to take Notice, that not the Author only, but We, the People call'd Quakers, have fo great an. Efteem of the Holy Scriptures
of the Old and New Testament, that we Prefer them to all other Writings extant in the World. For tho'it hath often, and with great Confidence been Reported and Printed by our Adversaries, that we Undervalue those Sacred Records, and set our own Writings upon an Equal Bottom with them; yet as the Charge is wholly groundless, being the Product of some Men's Interest, Malice or Ignorance ; so we fincerely declare, as has been done in Print again and again, that we do not Equalize any of our Books or Writings with the Holy Bible, but do believe it to be the most Excellent Book that ever was written. That which we do, in Truth and Humilitya Allert and Contend for, is not an Equality of our Writings with thofe. of the Holy Prophets and Apostles, bue à Measure of the fame Spirit which they had, of whom the Apostle testifies, That Holy Men of God spake, as they mere moved by the Holy Ghost, 2 Pet. i. 21. We sincerely Believe and Declare, that the Holy Scriptures are able to make Men wise unto Salvation, through Faith which is in Chrift Fesus; and that K2
All Scripture given by Inspiration of God, or, being Inspired by God * is alfo profitable for Doctrine for Reproof, for Correction, for Instruction in Righteousness; that the Man of God may be perfečt, throughly furnished unto all good Works, or, for every good Work, 2 Tim. 3. 15, 16, 17. This is our Sincere Belief concerning the Divine Authority, Sufficiency and Ufefulness of the Holy Scriptures. And we farther add, that in Order to make the Knowledge of God and Christ, which is convey'd to Men by means thereof, of Saving Efficacy to their Souls; the Illumination and Arfistance of the Holy Spirit, by way of Inward or Inmediate Revelation, are of Abfolute and Indifpenfable Neeeflity. We also do Believe, that the Holy Scriptures are the best Outward Rule or Standard, for the Trying and Examining the Principles and Do&rines of Men by; that nothing ought to be Required or Imposed, as a common Article of the Chriftian Religion,
* See Dr. Hammond's Paraphrafe in the Mara gin, upon the Place; who there gives the same Bodring, as I have done