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Scriptures alone ; which were dictated by the infallible Spirit of God.
Such writings also as Mr. Mede's and Dr. Lightfoot's are very much conducing to lead us into a true sense of the sacred Scriptures.
As to the method of reading them, order requires that the four Evangelists should, in the first place, be well studied, and thoroughly understood. They all treating of the same subject do give great light to one another; and, I think, may with the greatest advantage, be read in harmony. To this purpose, Monsieur Le Clerc's, or Mr. Whiston's Harmony of the Four Evangelists, will be of use, and save a great deal of time and trouble, in turning the Bible. They are now both in English, and Le Clerc's has a paraphrase. But if you would read the Evangelists in the original, Mr. Le Clerc's edition of his Harmony in Greek and Latin will be the best. If
you find that, by this method, you advance in the knowledge of the Gospel ; when you have laid a foundation there to your satisfaction, it will not be hard to add what may help you forwards, in the study of other parts of the New Testament.
But I have troubled you too much already, for which I beg your pardon; and am, &c.
To the same.
Oates, 20 January, 1703-4. The small acknowledgments I was able to make, for the honour of your visit, and enjoyment of your company here, left the debt on my side, and deserve not the notice you are pleased to take of them.
In your obliging letter of the 13th, you do me favours, and you thank me too. If you intend by this a perfect acquisition of so inconsiderable a thing as I am, your worth and virtue dispose me to be as much at your service as you please; I wish I found any thing in myself that might promise you any usefulness from me. That defect I shall endeavour to make up the best I can, with a perfect esteem, and a readiness of will ; which must supply the want of abilities of doing.
I thank you for the printed paper you sent me *, and am very glad to see such a spirit raised, for the support and enlargement of religion. Protestants, I think, are as much concerned now, as ever, to be vigorous in their joint endeavours for the maintenance of the reformation. I wish all, that call themselves so, may be prevailed with by those, whom your paper intimates, to imitate the zeal, and pursue the principles of those great and pious men, who were instrumental to bring us out of Roman darkness and bondage. I heartily pray for good success on all such endeavours.
If I may guess at the intention of the society, by the only man you let me know of it, I may be confident that the glory of God, and the propagation of true religion, is the only aim of it. May God eminently prosper all endeavours that way, and increase the number of those who seriously lay it to heart.
Sir Francist, my lady, and the rest of this family, return you their humble service. I am, &c.
RULES OF A SOCIETY,
Which met once a week, for their Improvement in useful
Knowledge, and for the promoting of Truth and Christian Charity.
1. That it begin at six in the evening, and end at eight; unless a majority of two thirds present are in. clined to continue it longer.
II. That no person be admitted into this society, without the suffrage of two thirds of the parties present, after the person, desiring such admission, hath subscribed to the rules contained in this paper, and answered in the affirmative to the following questions:
* An Account of the Society for promoting Christian Knowledge. + Sir Francis Míasham.
1. Whether he loves all men, of what profession or religion soever?
2. Whether he thinks no person ought to be harmed in his body, name, or goods, for mere speculative opinions, or his external way of worship?
3. Whether he loves and seeks truth for truth's sake; and will endeavour impartially to find and receive it himself, and to communicate it to others ?
III. That no person be admitted occasionally, without a good testimony from some of the society that knows him, and he answering in the affirmative to the abovementioned questions.
IV. That every member in his course, if he please, be moderator (and the course here meant, is that of their sirnames, according to the alphabet); whose care must be to keep good order, to propose the question to be debated, recite what may have been said to it already, briefly deliver the sense of the question, and keep the parties close to it; or, if he please, he may name one to be moderator for him. The question for the ensuing conference to be always agreed, before the company departs.
V. That no person or opinion be unhandsomely reflected on; but every member behave himself with all the temper, judgment, modesty, and discretion he is master of.
VI. That every member place himself to the left hand of the moderator, in order, as he happens to come in; and in his turn speak as plainly, distinctly, and concisely as he can to the question proposed, directing his discourse to the moderator.
VII. That no more than one person speak at once; and none object till it come to his turn to speak.
VIII. That, the question having gone round, if the time will permit, and the company pleases, it may
be discoursed again in the same order ; and no weighty question to be quitted, till a majority of two thirds be satisfied, and are willing to proceed to a new one. That when a controversy is not thought, by two thirds of the company, likely to be ended in a convenient time; then those two thirds may dismiss it, and, if they please, another question may be proposed. That two thirds of the company may adjourn the ordinary subject in question, for good and sufficient reasons.
IX. That no question be proposed, that is contrary to religion, civil government, or good manners ; unless it be agreed to debate such question, merely and only the better to confute it.
We whose names are here underwritten, proposing
to ourselves an improvement in useful knowledge, and the promoting of truth and Christian charity, by our becoming of this society, do hereby declare our approbation of, and consent to, the rules before written.
A Letter to Mrs. Cockburn.
MADAM, There was nothing more public than the obligation I received from you, nor any thing more concealed than the person I was obliged to. This is a generosity above the strain of this groveling age, and like that of superior spirits, who assist without showing themselves. I used my best endeavours to draw from you by your bookseller the confession of your name, for want whereof I could, whilst you kept yourself under that reserve, no more address myself directly to you with good manners, than I could have pulled off your mask by force, in a place where you were resolved to conceal yourself. Had not this been so, the bearer hereof would not the first time have come to you without a letter from me to acknowledge the favour you had done me. You not affording me an opportunity for that, I designed to make you some small acknowledgment, in a way that chance had opened to me, without your consent. But this gentleman transgressed my order in two main points of it. The one was in delaying it so long. The other was in naming me to you, and talking of matters which he had no commission from me
to mention. What he deserves from you for it, must be left to your mercy. For I cannot in earnest be angry with him for procuring me, without any guilt of mine, an opportunity to own you for my protectress, which is the greatest honour my Essay could have procured me. Give me leave, therefore, to assure you, that as the rest of the world take notice of the strength and clearness of your reasoning, so I cannot but be extremely sensible that it was employed in my defence. You have herein not only vanquished my adversary, but reduced me also absolutely under your power, and left no desires more strong in me than those of meeting with some opportunity to assure you with what respect and submission I am, Madam,
Your most humble,
and most obedient servant,
Oates, 30 Dec. 1702.
A Letter from Mr. Locke to Mr. Samuel Bold.
Oates, 16 May, 1699. Yours of the 11th of April I received not till the last week. I suppose Mr. Churchill staid it till that discourse wherein you have been pleased to defend my Essay was printed, that they might come together, though neither of them need a companion to recommend it to me. Your reasonings are so strong and just, and your friendship to me so visible, that every thing must be welcome to me that comes from your pen, let it be of what kind soever. I promise myself that to all those who are willing to open their eyes and to enlarge their minds to a true knowledge of things, this little treatise of yours will be greatly acceptable and useful ; and for those who will shut their eyes for fear they should see more than others have seen before them, or rather for fear they should make use of them, and not blindly and lazily follow the sayings of others; what can be done to them? They are to be let alone to join in the