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The Epistle natural Prerogative of their understandings to the Tyranny of dead Authors, and prefer Lead and Copper so it wear the Stamp of Authority, before the finest and noblest Metál that has not the luck to be a Coin.
But Sir, I need not fear your disapprobation on this account, whose active Soul has long fince travers’d o’re the whole Field of Truth, 'and whose temper is so unprejudic’d and even-pois’d, as to receive the most Novel Hypothesis (were
it possible for any to be such to you) without start' ing and amusement, and if true, to imbrace it,
tho with the Censure of Singularity. *
And here Opportunity tempts me to run a long Descant upon your great Wörth and the Variety of your Intellečtual Accomplishments, but I confider, that should I with the Athenian Oratour 'imploy Ten years in a Panegyric, I could add nothing either to your Fame or to your Satisfaction, and besides I féar I shall sufficiently abuse your Patience in the following Papers, and therefore I am the more concern'd to pare your Modesty in this.
But I forget how sacred your hours are, and have perhaps already too much reason to beg your, and the Worlds, pardon for disturbing an excellent Meditation. For which offence a speedy Conclu
Dedicatory. fion will be the best Apology. I end therefore with this humble Request, that whatever your judgement be of this present as to other respects, you would not fail to think it a sincere Testimony of that valt esteem which you most deservedly have in the heart of
All-Souls College Mar. 31.
Your most Obliged
and Humble Servant
· JOHN NORRIS.
:Preached before the Univer
sity of OXFORD, &c.
Rom. 12. Chap. V. 3. Not to think of himself more highly than be ought to think; But to think so. berly according as God bath dealt to eve
ry man the measure of Faith, A S HERE is nothing wherein
men are so much divided from one another as in Opinions and . nothing wherein they una
nimously conspirethan in thinkBe
i ng well of themselves. This
is a Humour of fo Catholic a Stamp, and universal Empire, that it may seem
to challenge a place among those Elements of our Constitution, those Essentials of our nature which run throughout the whole Kind, and are participated by every Individual. For should a man take the Wings of the Morning, and and travel with the Sun round the Terrestrial Globe, he would hardly find a man either of a Judgement so difficult to be pleas’d, or of accomplisoment so little to recommend him, that was not notwithstanding sufficiently in love with himself, however he might dislike every thing else about him ; And without question that arrogant and peevish Mathematician who charged the grand Architect with want of skill in the Mechanism of the World, thought he had play'd the Artist well enough in himself, and as to the Harmony of his own frame acquitted the Geometry of his Maker.
And as men are thus naturally apt to think well of themselves in general, fo there is nothing wherein they indulge this Humour more than in the Opinion they have of the Goods of the Mind, and among these there is none which has so great a share of their Partiality, as their Intellectual faculty. The Desire of Knowledge is not more natural then the Conceit that we are already furnish'd with a considerable Measure of it, and tho a particular Sect were Characteriz'd by that Appellation, yet all mankind are