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A Vindication of the Press, or An Essay on Usefulness of Writing
by [?]

Vindication of the Press:

OR, AN ESSAY ON THE Usefulness of Writing, ON CRITICISM, AND THE

Qualification of AUTHORS.

Wherein is shewn,

That ’tis for the Advantage of all Governments to encourage Writing; otherwise a Nation would never be secure from the Attempts of its most secret Enemies; Barbarous and prejudic’d Criticisms on Writings are detected, and Criticism is justly stated. With an Examination into what Genius’s and Learning are necessary for an AUTHOR in all manner of Performances.

LONDON:

Printed for T. Warner, at the Black-Boy in Pater-Noster-Row. MDCCXVIII.

[Price Sixpence.]

A Vindication of the PRESS:

OR, AN ESSAY ON THE

Usefulness of Writing

The very great Clamour against some late Performances or Authorship, and the unpresidented Criticisms introduc’d, render a Treatise on the Usefulness of Writing in general so absolutely necessary, that the Author of this Essay has not the least Apprehensions of Displeasure from the most inveterate, but on the contrary, doubts not an Approbation, even of the Great Mr. Dennis.

For the Usefulness of Writing in the Church, I shall trace back to the Annals of our Saviour and his Apostles. Had not Writing been at that Time in use, what Obscurity might we reasonably have expected the whole World would have labour’d under at this Day? when, notwithstanding the Infidels possess such vast Regions, and Religion in its Purity shines but in a small Quarter of the Globe. ‘Tis easy-to imagine, that without the New-Testament every Person of excellency in Literature, and compleat in Hypocrisy, either out of Interest, or other worldly Views, would have taken the Liberty to deny the most Sacred Traditions, and to have impos’d upon the Populace as many Religions as they pleas’d, and that the ignorant Multitude would easily acquiesce, as they do in Turkey, and other distant Parts of the World, which deny the Divinity of our Saviour.

What fatal Errors, Schisms, and concomitant Evils would have been introduc’d, must be apparent to all Persons of the least Penetration. The Quakers might at this Time possibly have been our National Church, and our present Happiness, with regard to those Considerations, can no way be more lively and amply demonstrated than in taking a step at once from Mr. Penn’s Conventicle to the Cathedral Church of St. Pauls.

The Regularity and heavenly Decorum of the latter, give an Awe and Transport to the Audience at the same time they ornament Religion; and the Confusion of the former fully shews, that as it only serves to amuse a Crowd of ignorant Wretches, unless meerly with temporal Views (Sectarists generally calculating Religion for their Interests) so it gives a License to all manner of Indecencies, and the Congregations usually resort thither with the same Regard as a Rake of the Town would do to Mother Wybourn’s, or any publick Place of Diversion.

Whether it be not natural to have expected a Confusion in the Church, equal to that of the worst Sectaries in the World, had not the Use of Waiting been early attain’d and practis’d, I appeal to the Breast of every unprejudic’d Reader; and if so, how infinitely happy are we by the Use of our Sacred Writings, which clear up the Cloud of Ignorance and Error, and give a Sanction to our Religion, besides the Satisfaction we of the Church of England have in this felicitous Contemplation, that our Religion, since the Reformation, strictly observ’d, is the nearest that of our Saviour and his Apostles of any Profession of Faith upon Earth.

‘Tis owing to Writing, that we enjoy the purest Religion in the World, and exclusive of it, there would have been no possibility of transmitting down entirely those valuable Maxims of Solomon, and the Sufferings of the Righteous Job, in the old Testament; which are so extensive to all Parts and Stations of Life, that as they are infinitely preferable to all other Writings of the Kind, so they afford the greatest Comfort and Repose in the Vicisitudes incident to Humane Nature.