8vo, pp. 31, [1 (publishers advertisement)]; edges a little dusty, slight dampstain to upper corner of early leaves, else a very good copy, uncut; recent marbled wrappers with modern private collector’s booklabel.
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The Duty of Love to God, and to our Neighbours. A Sermon preach'd at the Assizes held at Chelmsford in Essex, March 21 1727-8, before the Right Honourable the Lord Chief Justice Raymond, and Mr. Justice Reynolds.
First and only edition of this sermon given by the latitudinarian and controversialist Arthur Ashley Sykes (c. 1684–1756).
Preaching on Matthew 22:37-39 Sykes discusses the Christian’s first duties, to love God and to love his neighbour, which he uses to argue for religious tolerance. While some might suggest that ‘it is the truest Love … to save others from Ruin’, he argues ‘They are not Children; they are not such as have no Will, and are forc’d to depend upon the choice of others; but they are such as are more capable of judging of what will make themselves acceptable to God, than any can be for them.’ Sykes defends tolerance through pragmatism, too, for ‘Compulsion … only tends to keep Men quiet, but it does not make them what God requires, good’.
Appointed under the influence of Samuel Clarke, Sykes was a preacher at St James’s and numbered Isaac Newton among his congregation there. He wrote prolifically on contemporary religious controversies, with around eighty published pamphlets including several defending Clarke’s and Newton’s position on Arianism. ‘His whole life,’ wrote a critic in The Monthly Review ‘was a warfare of the pen, first in the Bangorian controversy, next in the Arian, then in the dispute about Phlegon, and afterwards in the Inquiry concerning the Demoniacs.’
ESTC T35095, recording six copies in the UK and two in North America (Duke and Harvard only).
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