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racter. Your manner of pardoning me is the more delicate, as it is done without any mixture of reproach. But though you acquit me with so much politeness, I shall not so easily forgive myself.
Certain it is, a precipitance of zeal hurried me away. As I had often heard positions, said to be yours, or at least consequences resulting from your Essay, cited against certain truths, which I now find you respect as much as myself, I thought I had a right to enter the lists with you. The passage in my preface was extorted from me by a degree of remorse, which I felt in writing against you. This remorse, Sir, was awakened in me by the consideration that the greatest men are always the most susceptible of the truths of revelation. I was really grieved to think that Mr. Pope should oppose a religion, whose enemies have ever been contemptible; and it appeared strange, that in a work which points out the road to happiness, you should furnish arms to those who are industrious to misguide us in the research.
Your letter, at the same time that it does honour to your character, must bring a blush in my face, for having entertained unjust suspicions. But, notwithstanding this, I think myself obliged to make it public. The injury which I have done you was so, the reparation should be the same. I owe this to you, I owe it to myself, I owe it to justice.
Whatever may be said in your favour in the commentary you have sent me, it is now rendered unnecessary by your own declaration. The respect which you avow for the religion you profess, is a sufficient vindication of your
doctrine. I will add, that, for the future, those among us who shall feel the laudable ambition of making their poetry subservient to religion, ought to take you for their model; and it should ever be remembered, that the greatest poet in England is one of the humblest sons of the church.
I am, &c.