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T W E L V E
To which is Added,
sage through the Red Sea, By another Hand.
R. Baldain, near the Oxford-Arms in Warwick Lane. 1696.
HE following Dissertations contain sucb Variety of Learning, and Liberty of Thought, out of the common road of Commenta
tors, and Divines (who generally confine themselves within the Rules and Pale of the Church) that the Publishing of them in English was thought necesary for the instructing and polishing of those, who imploy their happy Hours in the Study of the Holy Scriptures. 'Tis true, Two very Reverend Prelates of our own Church have lately treated of these Matters not without Reflecting on the Author Mr. Le Clerk; yet 'tis no ill manners to cloath him in the same
Language, that the Fastice and Reason of their Contempt and Accusations may the more clearly appear.
I am not insensible of the many Calumnies fixt on the Learned Author upon the account of these Dissertations, and the Letters be for. merly Publish'd concerning Infpiration, and the Lives of some Fathers, yet his late Treatise of the Causes of Incredulity, and the Truth of Christianity, hath disipated all those Aspersions, and demonstrates to the World, that he could never give any occasion to Infidels or Unbelievers to insult the fimplicity of the Gospel, or the Lines of the Church ; 'tis maliciously sugo gested, that he hath forgot to reckon his own Writings amongst his many Causes of Deism, and Scepticism; for tho in his Juvenile Pastimes at Saumur, and Geneva, he might fow some wild Tares, and run beyond the bounds of Discretion in Matters of Faith; yet by culture and ripeness of years, he arriv'd at that strength and presence of mind, that all his Productions became chaste, and
very charming, insomuch that the Illustrious City of Amsterdam adopted him into the Number of ber Profesors, where he adorns the Oriental Chair, and deserves to shine in a more Noble Sphere; but the Climate, we live in, is too grofs to receive such a fine and exalted Genius, born to illuminate the dark Mysteries of Antiquity, and to let us into the Sanctum SanCtorum ; for certainly never any Mortal came better prepar'd to unvail the Beauty of the Scriptures ; many great Endowments meeting in him ; a singular Penetration, vast reading and Study, a profound skill in the Languages with an universal erudition, a clear. Judgment, an honest Candor, and a Sublimity above Party or Faštion ; Talents not very common among Those who have the Honour to unlock those Venerable Archives.
The Bible without dispute contains more good Morals, and more bidden Treasures than all the Volumes of the Alexandrian, the Vatican, or Bodleian Libraries, and therefore our Libertines have no reason to deride the pains taken to open them.
But some cry out aloud, there lurks a Snake under the Grass, and Venom Sprouts out of the Mouth of the tempting Serpent ; Beware of his winding Infinuations, and bis gentile Turnings. Oh incurable fealousie! that will not distinguish between Superstition and Religion, between Godliness, and Gain, or between the Ancient and Modern Christianity. A Man must be of a very fower babit of Body, that will not bear an innocent Freedom, especially in an Age and Kingdom, where Nullius in Verba is the Motto.
Criticks and Philosophers have always claim'd a particular sort of Liberty, and Boldness, which the wifest States' have thought fit to dispense with; for Truth is not easily come at, many rubs and thorns lying in the way, so that few work