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For THE UNITARIAN SOCIETY; AND SOLD BY R.
TOO large a circuit may seem to have been taken in this work, and some things introduced appear foreign and unsuitable, if it be not considered, that the design hath not been barely to offer a vindication of the motives, conduct, and sentiments of a private person upon the subject of it, however important to him. The aim has been higher, whether attained or no—to promote that charity, without which a faith that can remove mountains (1 Cor. xiii. 2,) is nothing ; and to excite some to piety, virtue and integrity : in which it will be accounted far happier to have succeeded, than in making the largest number of proselytes to any opinions. A sentiment not unlike to this, has often been read with pleasure, in that fine writer, teacher
and example of virtue and true religion, Lactantius; a confessor for the truth in the worst (the Diocletian) times, and unchanged, humble and moderate in the most flourishing, when made tutor to Crispus, the Emperor Constantine's son. He thus concludes one of his first christian writings:– “But if life be an object of desire to a wise man, truly I could wish to live for no other end, but to do something worthy of life; and which may enable the reader, not to be more learned and eloquent, to which I can form but little pretensions, but to be a good man, which is the chief thing of all. And this, if I can but accomplish, I shall think I have lived long enough, and fulfilled my duty as a man, if by any labours of mine, some few may be delivered from error, and
directed in their road to heaven.”*
* Quod si vita est optanda sapienti, profecto nullam aliam ob causam vivere optaverim, quam ut aliquid effician quod vita dignum sit; et quod utilitatem legentibus, etsinon ad eloquentiam, quia tenuis in nobis facundiae rivus est, ad vivendum tamen afferat, quod est maxime necessarium. Quo perfecto, satis me vixisse arbitrabor, et officium hominis implèsse, si labor meus aliquos homines ab erroribus liberatos, ad iter coeleste direxerit.
LAct ANTIus—de Opificio Dei, p. 496.