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III. BEWARE, WANTON WIT.

I SAW an indenture too fairly engrossed; for the writer (better scrivener than clerk) had so filled it with flourishes that it hindered my reading thereof; the wantonness of his pen made a new alphabet, and I was subject to mistake his dashes for real letters.

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What damage hath unwary rhetoric done to religion! Many an innocent reader hath taken Damascene and Theophilact at their word, counting their eloquent hyperboles of Christ’s presence in the sacrament, the exact standards of their judgment, whence after ages brought in transubstantiation. Yea, from the Father’s elegant apostrophes to the dead (lively pictures by hasty eyes may be taken for living persons), prayers to saints took their original. I see that truth’s secretary must use a set hand in writing important points of divinity. Ill dancing for nimble wits on the precipices of dangerous doctrines. For though they escape by their agility, others (encouraged by their examples) may be brought to destruction.

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