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LETTER

то

WILLIAM WILBERFORCE, Esq.

ON THE SUBJECT

OF HIS LATE PUBLICATION.

By GILBERT WAKEFIELD, B. A.
LATE FELLOW OF JESUS-COLLEGE, CAMBRIDGE.

Beware of false prophets !-Ye fhall know them by their

fruits. Jesus.
Ye blind guides! which strain out a gnat, and swallow a
camel.

IDEM.

Nefas illic fetum jugulare capellæ;
Carnibus humanis vesci licet. In mare nemo
Hunc abicit, fævâ dignum verâque Charybdi ?
Tam vacui capitis populum Phæaca putavit?

JUVENAL..

THE SECOND EDITION,

A

ENLARGED AND CORRECTED.

LONDON:

PRINTED FOR THE AUTHOR, BY A. HAMILTON ;

AND SOLD BY I. CUTHELL, MIDDLE-ROW,

HOLBORN.

1797

1 figlish

ennust 4-6.45 52251

LETTER

TO

WILLIAM WILBERFORCE, ESQ.

SIR!

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THE privilege, which you have claim
ed and employed, of addressing “ the higher
" and middle classes of this country” on the
religious system of profeffed Christians,
“ contrasted with real Christianity,” cannot
be grudged with consistency, in application to
yourself, from one, according to the vulgar
acceptation of those words, neither in the
high nor middle class, but in the
order of the community, in which we live.
Your attention to religious subjects, in the
midst of a corrupt and faithless generation,
is regarded with more honour and approba-
tion by none of your warmest friends than
by your opponent: nor, I believe, have

your
thoughts, since we were contemporaries once

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very lowest

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Our con

at Cambridge, and before that period, been more intensely occupied in the same speculations and pursuits, than mine. clusions, however, from these diligent researches prove not only different, but in many points totally contradictory: yet, (for I am disposed to pay no futile compliments and to facrifice no self-applause, at the expence of conviction and sincerity, though ready to concede in your favour all that can possibly be true) I presume your purposes and affections to have been equally pure, equally zealous, and equally dispassionate, with my own. Perhaps, in consequence of

your

elaborate publication, which, from the peculiar situation and character of it's author, is likely to engage a considerable portion of popular attention, it may be a circumstance not altogether unimportant to some of our fellowcitizens, nor absolutely unworthy of your own regard, to contemplate some prominent particulars of our disagreement, and the grounds on which we differ.

But, Sir! my leading motive to this public and free address had it's origin in that countenance, which the favourable opinion of

your B 2.

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your character, very generally entertained, as a fincere and pious Christian, has reflected on the political conduct of those statesmen, whose views

you have promoted with eagerness and constancy; and whose interests

you

have in terwoven with your own.

It becomes on this account, I am persuaded, a consideration of no mean concernment to Englishmen at large to be supplied with some measure of determination, whether one, thus fanctified in the estimation of his countrymen,

· thus affuming the dignified office of a religious censor in society, — be indeed entitled to this large tribute of admiration, and illuminated with that knowledge of his subject, which has a claim to ensure his precepts a reverend acceptance with his disciples. That reasonable poftulatum too, I apprehend, is no less pertinent to the subject of Christianity, than to topics of philology and taste; founded on a requisite alliance between magisterial animada version and personal accomplishment;

Let such teach others, who themselves excell;
And censure freely, who have written well.

It was my primary intention to examine your publication in detail; but this object I

foon

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