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PRE FACE.

THE Author of these Papers bas

frequently fallen into Company, wherein he had occasion to converse on the Topicks of Liberty and Power, both Civiland Religious: and having never settled and ranged his own Ideas and Reasonings thereupon in so exact and So harmonious an Order as he wishod, be some Years ago set himself down to try if he could draw out his Thoughts into a regular Scheme, whereby be might better confirm or correct bis own Conduet. He then apply'd bimA 2

self self to a diligent and faithful Enquiry, without consulting other Authors, how far his own Reason would carry him toward the Establishment of any certain Religion in a Country or Nation, with a real desire to find a just Foundation for it, and try how far it could be brought into Form and Method.

And that he might secure himself the better from all Prejudices arising from present Establishments, he proposed to himself the Idea of a new erected State or Government of any kind whatsoever, laying aside all Prepolesions and Influences from the present Statutes and Customs of Men, and from the Appearances of Things in any Nation whatsoever, while he was engaged in these Speculations.

In matters of Practice he has always pewn himself on every Occasion a constant and sincere Friend and faithful Subječt to our British Government; and as he endeavors to

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pay every one in Church and State their due, to be rejoices in the Protestant Succession to the Crown, and the illustrious Family which possesses it. And’tis the desire of bis Soul, that our present Rightful Sovereign King George the Second may have every Grace and Bleffing pour'd down upon bis Royal Person, to render him a long and glorious Instrument of Divine Mercy, to diffuse Blessings over the whole Protestant World, and particularly over the British Nation.

the Author abhors the Thought of raising Seditions in the State under our happy Constitution from any Pretences either Civil or Religious, so be has no Views of disturbing any Charaeter or Sett of Men in those just Privileges and Pofessions which they enjoy by the Laws of the Land, for he possesses all his own Privileges by the same.

He is so well convinced of our happy Situation above and beyond almost

every

every other Nation under Heaven, that he does not suppose it can be either proper or lawful for any Persons or Parties among us to attempt to make the present Foundations of our Government, in order to introduce in practice such a Scheme of Liberty in Matters of Conscience as these Papers describe in Speculation. Surely we value our Britilh Constitution and the Privileges we enjoy, both Civil and Sacred, at too high a rate, ever to bring the Hazard and Loss of them into a Competition with any new Schemes or Models, which may b: form’d by the warm Imaginations or doubtful Reasonings of Men.

Yet it may be proper and useful to any Man for his own Satisfaction to enter into this Subjeet, and to search it through and through, according to his best Capacity, that he may form a better Judgment of the many late Contests in our Nation concerning Penal Laws and Tests in Civil and in Religious Affairs. The

Author

Author was very desirous to try how
far his Reason could establisha Na- )
tional Religion, and adjust and li-
mit the common Rights of Mankind,
both Sacred and Civil, under this
Establishment, in any Country what-
soever, wherein Religion may be pro-
fess’d in various Forms; and at the
same time to maintain a perfe&t Con-
fiftence with all due Liberty of Con-
seience and support the juft Authori-
ty of Supreme Rulers. What he had
written on this Subject he was desired
to publish as a Matter of further En-
quiry to those who have thought much
on this Argument; and perhaps it
may serve to lead those who have never
much thought of it into a more natu-
ral and easy Track of Thinking and
Reasoning about it.

If any thing in this Essay Mall prove so happy as to shed one peaceful and serene Beam of Light upon this dark and noisy Controversy, he hopes to find Forgiveness and Acceptance a

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