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from the true faith of thy son's gospel, the stop that has by this means been so long put to the propagation of christianity among Jews, Mahomedans, and Heathens; and the prevalence which it has occasioned of infidelity and profaneness in christian countries.
But we thank thee, who, in thine own due time, wilt, we doubt not, bring light out of all darkness, and order out of all confusion, that, in several christian countries, many of these corruptions and abuses have been reformed, and that anti-christian tyranny is every where giving place to the power of truth, and the just liberties of mankind in thinking and acting for themselves in all matters of religion.
For these great and invaluable blessings we are, under thee, indebted to the strenuous labours of thy faitbful servants, who have not accounted even their lives dear unto them; but, for the love of thy truth, have renounced all worldly advantages, boldly asserting their christian liberty, and holding themselves accountable to none but thee, the sole and immediate lord of conscience, and to the great shepherd and bishop of souls, acting by commission from thee, Jesus Christ.
We adore the wisdom of thy providence in bringing about the restoration of useful learning, and making it subservient to the reformation of thy church; so that thy servants, having recovered the genuine but long forgotten sense of the scriptures, were able to discover the false grounds of the reigning superstition, and of the ecclesiastical tyranny of their times.
Grant that, by a continued and diligent study of the same word of thy truth, we may, in due time, be led to the full discovery of every remaining corruption of our holy religion, and be brought to receive the whole truth in the love thereof.
Hasten, we entreat thee, the approach of that glorious time, when, according to the faithful and true writings of thy servants the prophets, our holy religion shall recover its primitive purity and efficacy ; when thou alone, as the only true God, a being of perfect rectitude, spotless purity, and essential goodness and mercy, shalt be the object of supreme worship; when thy creatures of mankind shall have recourse to no method of rendering themselves acceptable to thee, but unfeigned repentance for their transgressions of thy laws, and a sincere endeavour to conform to them for the future, in a course of upright intentions and worthy actions through the whole of their lives; and when no apprehension of arbitrary decrees shall alarm the fears of the hun ble, or encourage the presumption of the confident.
Dispose all who profess the christian name to study the scriptures of truth with unprejudiced minds; and inspire all those who attain to the truth with a just zeal for the propagation of it, as far as thy providence, shall give them ability and opportunity to do it. May neither the love of popular applause, of filthy Jucre, or any worldly advantage; may neither the fear of man, of reproach, or of death, be a snare to them, and hinder them in this work of love ; and may they
daily rejoice in the testimony of their consciences, and in the happy fruits of their pious and assiduous labours !
May all those powers of this world which have usurped any authority belonging to our only rightful lord and king in his church become disposed to relinquish their unjust claims; and may those kings and princes who will not acknowledge the sovereignty of Jesus in his church, and especially those who obstinately oppose the reformation of it, he utterly confounded, and, by his power, be broken in pieces like a potter's vessel! Take to thyself, O Lord God Almighty, thy great power, and reign; and may the gospel of Jesus Christ go forth conquering and to conquer ! May the everlasting gospel, in its primitive purity, he preached to all that dwell on the earth, to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people! By the brightness of our Lord's appearance may the man of sin be utterly consumed, that all the kingdoms of this world may become the kingdoms of our Lord and of his Christ, and may he reign for ever and ever!
In the mean time, may we thy faithful servants, in the patient waiting for this coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, be fearless and unwearied in asserting thy truth, be ready to lay hold of every favourable opportunity to promote it, and, more especially, be careful to recommend it by a suitable life and conversation ! May we distinguish ourselves by having the saine mind that was also in Christ Jesus, by ge
nuine humility, meekness, forbearance, brotherly love, heavenly-mindedness, and habitual cheerful devotion ! that when our Lord shall return, and take account of his servants, we may be found without spot and blameless, and not be ashamed before him at his coining.
Now to thee who alone art eternal, immortal, and invisible, the only wise, living, and true God, be glory, through Jesus Christ, for ever and ever. Amen.
This publication completes the scheme which was beguin in the Appeal, and continued in the Triumph of Truth; being intended to be a plain and earnest address to the common people, and especially to those of them who have but little money to spare for the purchase of books, or time for the reading them.
I am not so little acquainted with human nature, as. to expect any great success in this attempt to overturn long established errors; and least of all can I hope to convince those who refuse to read, or to hear, (which is the case with too many,) on whom even miracles could produce no effect; but the restoration of christianily to its primitive purity and efficacy, after so long and so radical a corruption, (which was foreseen and lamented by the inspired writers of the New Testament,) is so great and so worthy an object, that every
man who has the interest of religion at heart will rejoice in every opportunity that Divine Providence affords him for promoting it, with respect to ever so few, or even a single individual, of his fellow-creatures.
A zeal for the truth, and even to contend earnestly for it, does, certainly, well become a christian. Since, however, the inspiring of a christian spirit is the great purpose to which purity of christian faith is subservient, I hope that, with respect to myself, I have been careful not to lose the end, while I have been contending for the means. Of this
be pretty good judge; since that zeal which arises from the love of truth, and of mankind, will easily be distinguished from that spirit which actuates those whom Paul calls the disputers of this world, a spirit which savours strongly of pride, hatred, and malice, and which often induces them to have recourse to unfair and unworthy artifices in order to gain a victory.
Some persons think that in these publications I have attacked too many long established errors, and that it would have been more prudent to have attempted one thing at once, and to have proceeded gradually and gently. But it should be considererl, that there are in the world persons in every possible state of mind with respect to these things; so that what will stagger some, is calculated to make the strongest and best impression upon others. Since, therefore, every thing that is published from the press must be distributed promiscuously, we can only take care that what we write be