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and inculcate universal charity, and a freedom from the inventions and impositions of men in the things of God; has so seldom had a fair and favourable hearing any where, that he must be very ignorant of the history and nature of man, however dignified and distinguished, who proposes to himself any secular advantage by writing for her at that rate.
As to your request in the close of your letter, I hope this will satisfy you, that you might have spared it; and you, with the rest of the world, will see that all I writ in my former was so true, that you need not have given me any caution for the future. As to the pertinence of what I say, I doubt whether I shall please you; because I find by your last letter, that what is brought by me to show the weakness, absurdities, or insignificancy of what you write, you are very apt to call impertinent, and nothing to the purpose. You must pardon me therefore, if I have endeavoured more to please other readers than you in that point. I hope they will find, in what I have said, not much beside the matter. But to a man who, supposing himself in the right, builds all upon that supposition, and takes it for an injury to have that privilege denied him; to a man who would sovereignly decide for all the world what is the true religion, and thereby empower what magistrates he thinks fit, and what not, to use force; to such a man, not to seem impertinent, would be really to be so. This makes me pleased with your reply to so many passages of my letter, that they were nothing to the purpose: and it is in your choice whether in your opinion any thing in this shall be so.
But since this depends upon your keeping steadily to clear and settled notions of things, separate from words and expressions used in a doubtful and undetermined signification, wherewith men of art often amuse themselves and others,-I shall not be so unreasonable as to expect, whatever you promise, that you should lay by your learning to embrace truth, and own what will not perhaps suit very well with your circumstances and
I see my design not to omit any thing that you might think looks like an argument in yours, has made mine grow beyond the size of a letter. But an answer to any one being very little different from a letter, I shall let it go under that title. I have in it also endeavoured to bring the scattered parts of your scheme into some method, under distinct heads; to give a fuller and more distinct view of them; wherein, if any of the arguments, which give support to your hypothesis, have escaped me unawares, be pleased to show them me, and I shall either acknowledge their force, or endeavour to show their weakness.
A FRESH revival of the controversy formerly between you and me is what I suppose nobody did expect from you after twelve years' silence. But reputation, a sufficient cause for a new war, as you give the world to understand, hath put a resolution into your heart, and arms into your hands, to make an example of me, to the shame and confusion of all those who could be so injurious to you, as to think you could quit the opinion you had appeared for in print, and agree with me in the matter of Toleration. It is visible how tender even men of the most settled calmness are in point of reputation, and it is allowed the most excusable part of human frailty; and therefore nobody can wonder to see a
* In answer to A Second Letter to the Author of the Three Letters for Toleration. From the Author of the Argument of the Letter concerning Toleration briefly considered and answered; and of the Defence of it. With a Postscript, taking some Notice of Two Passages in The Rights of the Protestant Dissenters.