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TO MY

HONOURED AND LEARNED FRIEND,

DR. STILLINGFLEET.

SIR,

I HAVE, with a great deal of pleasure and satisfaction, read over your book, which I find in every part answerable to its title, viz. “A Rational Account of the Grounds of the Protestant Religion.” And now I thank you for it, not only as a private favour, but a public benefit. No sooner had I perused it, but I met with a discourse entitled, “Surefooting in Christianity.” And although I have no small prejudice against books with conceited titles, yet 1 was tempted to look into this, because it pretended to contain animadversions on some passages in your book, which I had so lately read over. Upon perusal of which animadversions, I found that the author of them had attacked (and, in his own opinion, confuted) a page or two in your book. This drew me on to take a view of his main discourses: which, because they are in great vogue among some of his own party, and do, with an unusual kind of confidence and ostentation, pretend to the newest and most exact fashion of writing controversy, as being all along demonstrative, and built upon self-evident principles: therefore, I resolved thoroughly to examine them, that I might discover (if I could) upon what so firm and solid foundations this high and mighty confidence was built.

227

But before I had entered upon this undertaking, I met with a letter from the author of “Sure-footing” to his answerer, directing him how he ought to demean himself in his answer. In which letter, though there be many things liable to great exception, yet, because I am unwilling to be diverted from the main question, I shall not argue with him about any of those matters; only take leave to use the same liberty in managing my answer, which he hath assumed to himself in prescribing laws to me about it: therefore, without taking any further notice of his letter, I address myself to his book.

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