/BP 44, fol. 114/
I beg your Pardon for making you so slow a return of my H. T. for your exc. Letter of the 26 of Dec. & I shud have needed your pardon much more, had your favors in it been lesse: The excesse of them in such variety of obligations; justifys me in the leisure I take to taste & enjoy ech endearing Circumstance a part: weighing & comparing with one another the several Delights I owe you.
I shud despaire of efficacy to convince you by anything that can flow from a Pen annimate but with such Dull reflections as mine.
Lest I shud incurre the Taxe, either of Hyp. if I shud by Sil. confesse an assent in matters of Rel. where I am not convinc't: or of Perversenesse shud I dissent without showing cause for it.
Could I admit of such a Doctrine, that in the Affaire of our Faith I ought to be swayed by any humane Auth. either of one or many; I shud at this instant publish a Valediction to my Op. what great wits soever <may> sustayne them; as willingly as I do here grant you the Preheminence above the hihest I have knowne.
Their veracity I attribute infinitely unto, from a due Cons. of all those happie Circ. wherewith your Eloq. authorizes it.
You cannot aggravate their Impiety enough.
If any former slip of my Pen can be but wrested to such an injustice, let me purge my selfe by a solemn Rec. But I hope my words imported not any such sense, I am sure my sense intended not any such words.
Wherein by 2 restrictions I am safely protected from any just Imp. of so injust a Negative. The one by the very Exc. of many Cases attributes to their Test. a Validity in many: the other allowes it an induceing Power in the very denying it a Convincing one: & tends no way to an Exclusion but onely to a Qualification of their Evidence.
/BP 44, fol. 114v/
Wherein I can in no wise Venture to give Sentence upon their Evidence
Little of materiall or waighty can be said on this subjecte that his rare & piercing observation has not anticipated.
And this I hope I may safely affirme without wrong either to their abilitys or good Wills.
In which I have prevented the need of Examples by many instances both of &c.
Some of which I take to be Beames, all more then Moates, fit to be removed out of their Eyes, before we can with reason resigne up our Senses to their Guidance & Mamid [blank space in MS, 10 characters] Aire-beaters
No marvell that to decide such they shud want wills, having neither meanes nor occasion to actuate their abilitys; or that they shud want abilitys, having noe provocations that might stimulate their wills.
These were the Considerations that possest me when &c.
Shud I [d] grant them all to be true, it woud not follow that they were sufficinet: till it did appeare, (which I think never will, tho for the present we will suppose it.)
My former Instances I conceive have sufficiently evinc't.
Will bring you into a Circle (of Augmentation)
To border upon Impossibility.
Are delivered by such a Multitude of men, as contayne in them all the Variety of Dispositions & Affections incident to the Nature of man.
The [Unfrustrable] apetence of Truth an appropriate of humane nature.
Which for brevity sake I note onely in the margent, pronounce to me in as cleere a sence as may be, the sufficiency of Scripture & superfluity of relying upon Traditions.
The organ then of our motion to hev'n being Faith & that Faith the strongest assent of our soules; the Ground upon which it must March ought to be no lesse /BP 44, fol. 115/Solide then Infallibility: since the strongest assent cannot be given but upon the strongest Inducement.
And lastly, I beleeve, that all Points whatsoever of Christian Religion[?] are there set downe as perspicuously & as cleerly intelligible to all Capacitys, as they are [d] cleerly necessary to be beleeved by all: & that God's Mercy in the Merits of Christ, accepting alike the fayth resultant from the Dark mists of the ignorant, & from the Cleerest intelligence of the Learned; the Lambe may wade to his Blisse, through the same water throu which the Elephant may swimme.
Besides God's equallizing Capacitys by his acceptance.
Let me have your Patience or your Pardon a Little farther. [blank space in MS, 6-7 characters] Lucida intervalla
In the happyer as well as more Monarchicall Condition of [d] &c.
Since it was a Forme not chosen for the best, but impos'd by adversity & oppression: which in the beginning forc't the Church from what it wisht to what it might.
How Camelion like that has been, how various is as visible as greene.
Not the safest Course, for he would be found packing towards &c.
The Ballances being so equally pois'd that the overbearance of either scale is hardly perceptible.
As we do in the other most true & prime Emanation of Nature, Friendship, which on your part to me I am [...] must needs spring from thence; since my small merit affords no other motive: & as for mine to you, I am sure it is impossible without an entire concurrence of all the forces of sympathy, for any &c
Differencyes being rightly reconcilable onely by such Mediums as both Partyes consent in.
/BP 44, fol. 115v/