Page:Books Condemned to be Burnt - James Anson Farrer.djvu/159

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143
Books Condemned to be Burnt.

eyes; if it did, this alone would be sufficient reason not only to distrust but to condemn it." Nevertheless both editions alike contain many passages remarkable for their breadth of view no less than for their admirable expression. What, for instance, could be better than the passage wherein he speaks of the priests cramming the people with doctrines, "so many in numbers that an ordinary mind cannot retain them; so perplexed in matter that the best understanding cannot comprehend them; so impertinent to any good purpose that a good man need not regard them; and so unmentioned in Scripture that none but the greatest subtlety can therein discover the least intimations of them"? Or again: "No king is more independent in his own dominions from any foreign jurisdiction in matters civil, than every Christian is within his own mind in matters of faith"? What Doctor of Divinity of these days would speak as courageously as this one did two hundred years ago? So let any one be prepared to give a good price for a first edition copy of The Naked Gospel, and, when obtained, to study as well as honour it.

History is apt to repeat itself, and therefore it is of interest to note here