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The Doctrine of the Primitive Church, con-
BY JOSEPH PRIESTLEY, LL.D. F.R.S.
Why beholdeft thou the mate that is in thy brother's eye, and
Matt. vii. 3.
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SHALL be cenfured by many perfons for taking this public notice of an anonymous, and especially a periodical publication; and what I hope to fhew is, indeed, in itself, unworthy of any notice. But a wife man will confider things not fo much as they are in themselves, as according to their power of doing good or harm. Now it cannot be denied that the Monthly Review is, in general, a refpectable publication of its kind; and from the credit which it has acquired it has confiderable, influence; fo that as nothing is exempt from plaufible mil-reprefentation, any writer has it in his power, with this advantage, materially to hurt the credit, and impede the fale of the most valuable productions.
I am fenfible that a writer beft confults his dignity by keeping filence on thefe occafions, and his regard for truth may be fatisfied by correcting in a fubfequent edition the errors of a former one. But my object, I hope, is not reputation (I write a great deal too much for that) but the careful investigation, and the most effectual propagation of truth; and for this purpofe, I am willing to lay hold of every fair opportunity of bringing it again and again before the public.
I fhall even rejoice in my own mistakes and overfights, if they should be the means of drawing more attention to any valuable subject of inquiry. Every perfon. who writes on any fide of the question helps to keep up that attention, and by this means the truth will, in the end, be a gainer. This, however, is the first, and it will probably be the last time that (if I be now doing wrong) I fhall offend in this way.
I have not been without fimilar provocation to take the fame method of redrefs before: but befides that the objects were of lefs confequence, the flow but fure decifion of time (notwithstanding the Reviewer had the advantage of the popular clamour against me) has done me fufficient ptice. My story of the Corruptions of Christianity being in my own opinion, as well as that of.my.friends, of more value than most of my other publications, this piece of justice was thought to be due to it in preference to any of the reft; and the knowledge and ability of the prefent Reviewer makes him a much more formidable, and therefore a more respectable antagonist.
The manner in which this review of my work is conducted, muft neceffarily give a very unfavourable idea of it to thofe who have no other fource of information concerning it. They must think it to be not only full of the groffeft blunders, but even calculated to deceive the reader. It is, moreover, written in a tone that cannot fail to impose upon many. I know that it has done fo,