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2. Nevertheless, a necessity, as it were, is laid upon me to reply, as a simple matter of justice: I mean, because many, as I hear, are likely to be upset by what he has written 436unless the true state of the case is laid before them. I am compelled, against my resolution and even my vows, to make reply, lest by keeping silence I should seem to acknowledge the accusation to be true. It is, indeed, in most cases, a Christian’s glory to follow our Lord’s example of silence, and thereby to repel the accusation; but to follow this course in matters of faith causes stumbling blocks to spring up in vast numbers. It is true that, in the beginning of his invective he promises that he will avoid personalities, and reply only about the things in question and the charges made against him; but his profession in both cases is false; for how can he answer a charge when no charge has been made? and how can a man be said to avoid personalities when he never ceases to attack and tear to pieces the translator of the books in question from the first line to the last of his invective? I shall avoid all pretence of saying less than I mean, and similar subterfuges of hypocrisy which are hateful in God’s sight; and, though my words may be uncouth and my style unadorned, I will make my reply. I trust, and I shall not trust in vain, that my readers will pardon my lack of skill, since my object is not to amuse others but to endeavour to clear myself from the reproaches directed against me. My wish is that what may shine forth in me may not be style but truth.

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