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its inhabitants, the gout* of the master should reform this, and L'Espritt of the governors re
Three things are infinitely valuable to all men. Their children, their reputation, and their influence. You are a dissenter Sir, which of these are you not baffled in? You have initiated
your son in the principles of religion and morality, you think it time now to give him tuition in a public seminary, you highly value the literati of the two universities, you could intrust them with introducing your son to a future course in the world, but alas! the lad must be deprived of all this, except he submits to the hardship of a matriculation oath, except he deserts a form of worship which he has hitherto been taught to approve, and conforms to a service (in your opinion) too superstitious. Not that college-oaths would hurt him, because Mr. Vice chancellor closes term with a general absolution. Let your own pastor found an academy. But who pray can lawfully endow an unlawful house? Send him abroad. But he is your only son, and you would be nigh to inspect him. What must a man do? Educate him himself; or else prefer conscience to latin and greek, and let him comfort himself with remembering that there were men of sense in the world before the foundation of Athens or Rome. Is
your reputation dear? However, dear as it is
you shall be reputed ignorant, disaffected to government, a setter forth of strange gods, nobody shall trouble himself to examine you, yet all shall point at and reproach you; with good reason you are proscribed by law.
† The genius, temper, or spirit.
Does a good man wish to extend his influence for moral purposes? A very lawful desire. But he who could fill an office with credit to himself and honour to his country shall be excluded from every office. Why? He wears a long-skirted drab-coloured coat, says thou instead of you, and to complete his wickedness, cocks up his hat with hooks and eyes instead of loops. These sir are disqualifications for office.
All these, it is said, are small inconveniences, these ought not to be called persecution. That is, this is not the worst stage of the disease, this therefore is no disease at all. The putting forth of the finger and the wagging of the head differ from burning a man, only as the whelp that snaps your fingers differs from the dog that worries you to death. Christian ministers, renounce these hidden .things of dishonesty : full of a belief of the goodness of your cause, boldly rest it on its TRUTH; you have nothing to fear, sooner or later truth and benevolence must reign triumphant. Take Calderwood for your example. When James I. had read his book called Altar Damascenum he was very uneasy: let not this disturb your majesty, said one of the bishops, we will answer the book. Tush mon, said the monarch, what wid ye aunswer, 'tis nothing but scraptur and razon.
L E T T E R VIII.
S O P H I S T R Y.
Declamatores verò in primis sunt admonendi, ne con
tradictiones eas ponant, quibus facillime responderi possit ; neu sibi stultum adversarium fingart.
L ET T E R VIII,
IT is a just remark of the wise man, that he who applies his heart to know, to search, and to seek out wisdom, when he has counted mankind one by one, will scarcely meet with one among a thousand among men, and fewer still among women, who attend to THE REASON OF THINGS, that is, who are capable of avoiding sophistry, and of admitting a close argumentation. Sometimes force, and sometimes fun supply the place of reason, and sanctify an argument by proxy. · It is not long since a certain person, who could no otherways account for his ill-luck, ascribed his misfortunes to witchcraft, and swam the supposed witch to prove her guilt. An old gentleman who saw this tragi-comedy, though he detested the trial, yet believed the woman's witch-craft. Some of the neighbouring clergy endeavoured to convince the old gentleman both of the inhumanity of the trial, and of the absurdity of the notion. Pray, said he, gentlemen, do
you believe that there were witches in the time of Moses ? Undoubtedly we do. Very well, replied the good old man, as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be world without end. Amen