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WITH THE TRUE STATE THEREOF IN ALL ITS PERIODS.
latical, and malignant Enemies of that Church, as it is now ftat-
in some measure cleared ; concerning hearing of the Curates, own-
BY MR. ALEXANDER SHIELS,
Pfal. xciv. 20. Shall the throne of iniquity bave fellowvskip with tbec, rubich frametb
mifchief ly a law ?
beir tefiimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death.
DRESUMING it is thy desire to answer the holy I and honourable designation I accoft thee with, I Thall take the confidence to assure thee, it is my design to answer, in some measure, the expectation which the title of this treatise would offer, in the hope that, wherein I come fhort (as I indeed confess not only my jealous fears, but my sensible conviction of my insufficiency for such a great undertaking) thy Chrii. tian tenderness will impute it to my weakness, and not to any want of worth in the cause I manage, which is truly worthy, weighty, noble and honourable, in the esteem of all the lovers of Christ, that have zeal for his honour in exercise ; and therefore as it gives me all the encouragement I have, in dependence on his furniture whose cause it is, to make such an efsay, so it animates my ambition, albeit I cannot manage it with any proportion to its merit, yet to move the Christian reader to make enquiry about it, and then sure I am he will find it is truth I plead for, though my plea be weak. All I shall further say by way of preface, is to declare the reason of the title, and the design of the work.
Though books use not to be required to render a reason of their names, which often are arbitrarily im. posed more for the author's fancy and the time's fafhion, than for the reader's instruction : yet, seeing the time's injuries do oblige the author to conceal his name, the title will not obscurely notify it to some for whose satisfaction this is mainly intended, and lignify also the scope of the subject; which aims at give ing goodly words, not sugared with parasitic sweet. Dels, nor painted with affected pedantry, but fairly