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thought it fo; and that none should be damned at last; whole extravagant practices exactly correfpond with their evil principles; from hence, fome ignorantly, and too many malicioufly, involved us and ours with them; and many of their exorbitances were thereby placed to our account, though without the leaft reafon, truth, or justice.

And because fome that were convinced of God's truth, afterwards difhonoured their profeffion, through their unfaithfulness to it; and that fome, out of weaknefs, perhaps, may have improperly worded what they intended to fay, the whole body of our friends have been made criminal, and the religion or principles we profefs, have been condemned, and reprefented to the world as herefy and blafphemy; an ufage fo unjust, that doubtless, according to Lex Talionis, our adverfaries would think it intolerable to be fo treated by

us.

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But as we defire not to render evil for evil, our Great Bishop having taught us another leffon, and better practices, fo we defire God Almighty to forgive our causeless enemies, for his Son's fake, as we most freely and heartily forgive them: believing fome may be zealously affected for their educational form of religion, and as zealous against us for our feparation; and we are the more inclined to judge fo, because many of us were once in the fame way, and had fuch thoughts of thofe that were gone before us. But it hath pleased the Father of mercies to do by many of us as he did by Saul, that zealous, though mistaken, perfecutor of the fincere followers of Jefus Chrift, Acts ix. 3, 4, 5, 6. For as we heard an unusual inward, but powerful voice, fo we also had a more inward, clear, and distinguishing fight, by the illumination of that light which was more than natural, and fhined into our dark and finful hearts, 2 Cor. iv. 6, 7. letting us fee them, as they really were in God's fight; which naturally affected us with deep forrow, and true humiliation, making us willing to be any thing he would have us be, provided we might have fome fense

of

of his love and favour towards us. And bleffed be his holy and excellent name, we can, without vanity, fay, (generally fpeaking) we were not difobedient to that heavenly vision, (Acts xxvi. 19.) we had of him, ourselves, the world, and that profeffion of religion, where we had our education. And fince by that fight God gave us, we faw he was pure and holy, and that without bolinefs none ever could, or can fee him, to their joy, and that we were unfit to approach his holy altar; yea, that the whole world lay in wickedness; and that profeffion of religion, where we had our education, was fo far from having the power of godliness, that, for the most part, it wanted the right form; from fuch, therefore, we had a divine authority to "turn away," 2 Tim. iii. 5. which we did, not in a vaunting mind, but with great forrow; wanting to know where the Great Shepherd of the fheep fed his flock, Cant. i. 7. For we defired to be not of those that "turned aside from the foot-steps of the flocks of the

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companions." Nor was it affectation to popularity, fingularity, or novelty, that induced us to a feparation; but a fervent defire to know the Lord, and the work of his tranflating power upon our fouls, being in earnest for heaven, though for it we loft all our earthly enjoyments, Heb. xi. 14, 15, 16.

In this folitary and Jeeking ftate, it pleased the Lord to meet with us, and gather us into families, or religious focieties, according to Pfalm lviii, 6. And though it hath been a dear feparation to us, confidering it coft us the loss, at least, of all things, and the great fufferings and afflictions that have attended us in this defpifed way, which men have called herefy; yet the Lord hath bleffed us in it, with the enjoyment of his bleffed presence, to our unfpeakable joy and com

fort.

To conclude; as it hath pleafed the Lord to blefs us, in the way we have hitherto been helped to walk in, with that great bleffing which ushered in the birth of our bleffed Lord into the world, viz. “ Glory to "God, peace on earth, and good-will to men;" fo

we

we earnestly defire the fame upon all our neighbours: for though we may not be all of one mind in fome doctrinal parts of religion, we muft, of neceffity, be all of one fentiment in the great and general duty of boliness, or elfe we can never fee God. And if that is our principal aim and endeavour, we fhall lefs fall out by the way, about words, forms, and the outfide of things: but univerfal charity, (which is the most excellent way, and without which the best of creeds is but as a founding brafs, &c.) will filence controversy, and blot out all ignominious characters; remembering that the Great Judge, at the last day, will determine us, not according to our names, but natures; not our profeffion, but our lives; not our bare belief, though of unquestionable truths) but works; for God will bring every work to judgment, with every "fecret thing, whether it be good or evil," Ecclef. xii. 14.

A DEFENCE

A

DEFENCE

O F

A PAPER,

INTITLED

GOSPEL TRUTHS,

AGAINST

The Exceptions of the Bishop of CORK's Teftimony.

BY WILLIAM PEN N.

Published in the Year 1698.

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