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PRINTED BY RICHARD TAYLOR, RED LION COURT, FLEET STREET.
THE SERIOUS AND CANDID
PROFESSORS OF CHRISTIANITY.
MY CHRISTIAN BRETHREN,
PERMIT one who professes obedience to the same Lord, and faith in the precious promises of the same Gospel with yourselves, to address himself to you, with all freedom and plainness of speech, on subjects relating to our common salvation. I need not tell you that these subjects are interesting. In reality, nothing else is interesting in comparison with them. For, what is this world compared with the future! What is time compared with eternity! Believe me, my brethren, it is nothing but the deepest concern for the honour of a religion which is the most valuable inheritance of the human race, and which sets us above all the follies and vices, all the weaknesses and troubles of life, by giving us the most solid hope in death, that has induced me to solicit your attention. But I am confident that you will not think it ill bestowed, because it is upon a
subject that is near and dear to you, and the consideration of which cannot but please and profit you.
If, by the blessing of God upon our common endeavours to lead and to be led into all truth, I shall be so happy as to bring you to entertain the same views of these things with myself, we shall rejoice together; and if, after all that I may be able to advance, you should still think differently from me, I trust you will, at least, be disposed to think with more candour of some of your fellow-Christians, who love the Gospel, and are zealous for its honour, though you may think them mistaken in their conceptions concerning it. Let me entreat you, therefore, my brethren, to give me a patient and candid hearing. Attend, in the spirit of meekness, to what I shall say from the earnestness of my heart; and exercise the reason which God has given you upon this occasion, which is the noblest on which it can be exercised, and for which you may, therefore, conclude that it was principally given you.
I. OF THE USE OF REASON IN MATTERS OF
RELIGION. BE not backward, or afraid, my brethren, to make use of your reason in matters of religion, or where the Scriptures are concerned. They both of them proceed from the same God and Father of us all, who is the giver of every good and every perfect gift.