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Ꭱ I Ꮯ H A Ꭱ Ꭰ
Earl of Burlington,
Trustee for the LECTURE
The Hon. Robert Boyle Esq.
Thefe REM A R K S
Are Inscribed by
Most obliged humble Servarit,
A. D: 17575
HAT is here offered to the Public W is not a regular Treatise, but only a
collection of detached Remarks on Rocco coopt Ecclesiastical History and ancient Writers, in which the order of time is neither strictly observed, nor greatly neglected, and no anxious accuracy is bestowed upon the dates
years. This is a necessary premonition to the Reader, who else would seek what he will not find.
Yet was it designed, slight and imperfect as it is, for the service of Truth, by one who would be glad to attend and grace her triumphs ; as her soldier, if he has had the honour to serve successfully under her banner; or as a captive tied to her chariot-wheels, if he has, though undesignedly, committed any offence against her.
Greater undertakings on these subjects are a task fit for those who are blessed with con. veniencies, spirits, and abilities, and a talk suf
ficient to exercise all their talents; for Ecclefiaftical History is a fort of enchanted Land, where it is hard to distinguish Truth from false Appearances, and a Maze which requires more than Ariadne's Clue.
Whilst exalted Geniuses difcern with a kind of intuitive knowledge, they who have less penetration may be permitted, now and then, where Reason and Religion are not injured by it, to payse and doubt. Not that doubting is desireable and pleasant; but it is rather better than affirming strongly upon flender proofs, or taking opinions upon trust.
And yet there are instances, in Ecclesiastical Antiquities, of spurious Authors, forged Records, and frivolous Reports, where hesitation at this time of day would be improper, and where a man is not to remain for ever in sufpense, and to hear what every Patron has to say, who starts up, and pleads the exploded cause of his ragged Clients.
The intention of this work is to produce such evidence as may support and confirm the truth of Christianity, and shew that the Providence of God has appeared in its establishment and in its preservation; to avoid peremptory decisions on some lately controverted questions, and seek out a way between the extremes; not to pronounce those things false which may perhaps be true, nor those things certain which are only probable, nor those things probable which are ambiguous; and to try the experiment whether by this method a Reader may