Page:Terræ-filius- or, the Secret History of the University of Oxford.djvu/21

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vii
PREFACE.

own knowledge and virtue, when they ſee that ſo famous a nurſery of religion and learning has not been free from very great errors and miſcarriages; as, by the difference in their preſent conduct, they ſeem themſelves to acknowledge.

Laſtly, that the preſent members of that univerſity may have the glory which is due to them, for bringing about ſo deſirable a work; and that we, whoſe ſpiritual welfare depends ſo much upon the purity of thoſe fountains, may rejoice and be glad in it.

We are aſſur'd in ſcripture, that there is more joy in heaven over one ſinner that repenteth, than over ninety and nine juſt perſons who need no repentance. If the ſame rule is to be obſerved upon earth, how great and extraordinary ſhould the national joy be at preſent, upon account of this Academical Reformation, when we conſider that the number of penitent ſinners is ſo large, and of theoſe, who need no repentance, ſo very small?

But we may carry this evangelical doctrine too far, which obliges us to forgive and rejoice over our Rebellious repenting brethren; but not to reward and confide in them beyond thoſe who need no political repentance; for it cannot ſurely be interpreted to mean, that a man, who has but juſt eſcaped the gallows or ſcaffold, which he conſeſſedly