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HE Pleasure I received from your laft obliging Letter, demands a better Acknowledgment than at present I am able to make. The Succefs of your Labours in the glorious Cause of Truth and Liberty, which you modeftly call furprizing, is by no means so to your Friends, who know and admire the fhining Talents, the indefatigable Application, the engaging Addrefs, and extenfive Benevolence, by which you stand eminently diftinguished among all true Lovers of Mankind. Who can wonder that Wit and Learning fhould triumph over the glaring Abfurdities of Prieftcraft and Superftition, when we fee them daily VOL. I.




become the Scorn and Contempt of the fillieft Part of the People? The vifible Superiority of our Numbers, and Zeal for the Caufe, the Indolence, or rather Diffidence, of our Adverfaries, and the impartial Neutrality of fome, who might, if they pleased, cafily turn the Scale against us, are a comfortable Presage, that the Days of reverend Dulness and Superstition are growing to a Period, and that we (or our Pofterity, however) fhall live to see this happy Island, in every Sense of the Word, a Land of Liberty, a Nation of Philofophers, and fine Gentlemen, delivered from the Tyranny of Priefts and Prieft-ridden Politicians, and directed folely by the infallible Light of Nature, the Rules of Right Reason, and the Laws of Honour, and fuffered to think, and fpeak, and act with that unlimited Freedom, which is the diftinguishing Privilege and Honour of rational Creatures and free Agents; for which, I truft, neither your Endeavours nor mine shall ever be wanting.

Though we cannot boast of the fame Succefs in our Neighbourhood, yet we may venture to fay, in the main, that we are in a very hopeful Way, and improve as faft as the Nature of our Situation, and, the Genius of the Country will admit. The lower Part of the People, with which, you know, we moftly abound, are of flender Talents and flow Capacities, bred up from their Infancy to Superftition. and Labour, and are not easily cured of their early Prejudices; they cannot enter into abftracted Notions and fine Reasonings; and therefore, ftill perfift in having a fort of Reverence for. the Parfon (except when he comes to talk upon the Article of Tythes); they think it very convenient to have a Holiday once a Week;

a Week; and that the Church is a very convenient Place to meet in, and fhew their beft Cloaths, efpecially in rainy Weather, when they cannot fo conveniently walk about the Fields, or travel about the Neighbourhood; and therefore are ftartled at any thing that looks like an Attempt to unfettle the Religion of their Grandmothers. And though many of them, by converfing with their Betters, have made great Improvements, have attempted to break their Chains, and give into the Liberties of the polite World, yet can they not entirely conquer the inveterate Prejudices of Education and Custom; infomuch that, after they have been regaling all their Senfes in the best Company and the most exquifite Enjoyments; yet, when they come to Retirement and cool Reflections (as they call them) they grow fplenetic and low-fpirited, are terrified with difmal Apprehenfions of a future Judgment, eternal Punishments, and I know not what, and fall to fnivelling, repenting, and praying, after breaking a Commandment, as if they had been guilty of breaking a Hedge, or the Peace, and were in danger of being fent to the House of Correction. But however, there is great Hope that frequent Practice, and the Influence and Example of their Superiors, will, by degrees, fo far enlighten their Understandings, as to convince them, that it is neither Policy nor good Manners, for any Tenant to pretend to be wifer or better than his Landlord, especially than the Lord of the Manor; and that it is impoffible for a poor Rafcal that rents 20 or 30l. per annum, to think and judge as properly of fuch intricate Subjects as the 'Squire, who is, perhaps, in the Commiffion of the Peace, or the Mi

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litia, rides in his Coach, and laughs at the Parfon and his Preachments every Day of his Life.

And this has produced another lucky Consequence, which cannot fail, one time or other, of turning out greatly to our Advantage. Several of the younger and more polite Clergy, who are Candidates for Fame or Promotion, or both, and find that very little of either is to be obtained by a stiff, sullen Adherence to the old-fashioned Schemes of Orthodoxy and Morality, think it their Intereft to be more complaifant to thofe who have it in their Power to diftinguifh and prefer them; they find there is more to be got by being good Companions, than good Chriftians, and confider it as a Point of Policy, as well as good Breeding, not to interrupt Conversation when they are in Company with their Superiors; and whatever Subject happens to be started, or Liberties of Speech taken, by those who may have it in their Power to mend or marr their Fortunes, they think it their best Way to eat their Pudding, and hold their Tongues, without pretending to be wifer than the rest of the Company. This has already. had a good Effect, and has convinced Numbers of People, that either thofe Gentlemen do not really believe, or are not able to defend, the Doctrines they pretend to teach, and therefore are already, or at least, in a fair Way to be of our Side of the Question. Our Friend, the 'Squire, made a Party the other Night to meet at Parfon G's, who, you know, has long had an Eye to his great Living at B-re. After the firft Bottle, we naturally fell upon Politics, with an eafy Transition to Religion; we quickly grew warm, roafted Athanafius, and the whole Company of Creedmakers, with all the Patrons and Defenders of Revelation,

dation, Miracles, Myfteries, &c. The well-bred Doctor gave us no Interruption, offered at no Reply, -but put about the Glass, which he never baulked when it came to his Turn. When the Company broke up, he made us a handfome Compliment, by affuring us, that his Silence was purely the Effect of his good Breeding. Gentlemen, (faid he) you may poffibly be furprized that I have given no Interruption to this Converfation; you had not escaped fo, had it happened in any other -Place; but I hold it to be an essential Point of good Breeding not to contradict any Gentleman in my own House.

But notwithstanding all this, I cannot say that our Success has hitherto been fuch as we might reasonably expect from the apparent Goodness of our Caufe, the Number, Weight, and Zeal of its Advocates, and the feeble Oppofition of our Adverfaries. And it has coft me many an anxious Thought to discover, if poffible, to what evil Fate or Mifconduct we may charge our ill Success, that we may be better able to guard against it for the future, and lay a folid and lasting Foundation for the Peace and Liberty of the next, if not of the present, Generation.-And the first great Reason that occurs to me, is, our irregular, immethodical Way of Proceeding. Method and Order are known and confeffed to be the Life and Spirit of all regular Societies and great Designs, without which they can neither profper nor fubfift; their Profperity, nay, their very Being, depends upon certain regular Difpofitions of Perfons, Times, and Places, for the better Execution of their Defigns, and anfwering the Ends of their Inftitution; fome are to command, others to obey; fome to direct, others to fubmit to Direction. And it is the great Duty and Business of Directors, to judge of B 3


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