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HERE are some perhaps, who at first sight may be startled at reading the name of OXFORD in the title, and fling down the book without en
enquiring any further into its contents. But if their curiosity Should lead them to proceed so far as the preface, it is hoped their wrong impressions may by that be removed, and they may be tempted to go on.
OXFORD we know has for some time been used as a term of reproach, and become a bye-word amongst many. Pam- phlets have been designedly written, and measures industripusly pursued, to lefsen her credit. Whether juftly or not is foreign to our purpose at present to enquire. Let it fuffice that we endeavour to convince the unprejudiced reader, that nothing in this undertaking is intended either in defence of, or against the University; nothing that in the least regards Party. And tho' this was slightly hinted in our preface, it was judged not improper to enlarge fomewhat further on the subject.
A work of fo extensive a design cannot possibly be fultained with equal spirit for any length of time without the assistance of the Literati in general. But how shall we desire or expect that affistance, if we engage in particular disputes ? For these, tho' pleasing to some, would be irksome to others : whereas by pursuing a different method, we shall be sure to disoblige none. Our interest therefore, if no other motive, will force us to adhere strictly to our first proposal, that is, to abstain from all controversy that can give pffence to any.
We would not suppose the most inveterate enemy to OxFord so blinded with rage or bigoted to Party, as to deny her having some share of praise, fome pretensions to encouragement. 'Twould be useless as well as pedantick to prove that Learning is of no Party; that the highest respect has always been paid to merit, tho' in persons of an opposite sect or opinion ; that concord has subsisted, and a correspondence been maintained betwixt different Literati, at a time when their countries have been at variance with each other. Men are the same every where and in all ages. Genius is not confined to a particular foil, but will flourish in any ground or climate, if properly cultivated. It would therefore be as cruel to imagine no merit can be lodged in one place, as it is arrogant to believe it all centered in another.
Nothing has more advanced the quick progress of know, ledge than that harmony and benevolence, which have con- . ftantly united men in the pursuit of it. Hence focieties have been formed, and academies instituted, with free admiffion to persons of all ranks and persuasions, whose supe
rior excellence intitles them to it. For whatever contributes to the general good, ought always to meet with a general encouragement.
Not to dwell any longer on this subject; we entirely rely on that candour which is inseparable from good taste and found judgment. But tho' we may have little to fear, we have much more to hope, from the Learned. Their affiftance will greatly enhance the reputation of our work, and will not we presume be a discredit to themselves. CAMBRIDGE more particularly demands, our application, as she is engaged in the common task of promoting a liberal and learned education. Nor is it to be doubted but that we shall meet with such reception, as is due to a sister university.
Our design has already been sufficiently explained, and the publick will be able in some measure to judge of the execution by the specimen exhibited in this number. We hope our correspondents will be particularly careful not to send us any thing that has been printed before. All compositions that agree with our proposals will
our proposals will be thankfully received, and inserted the first opportunity.
The result of our labours 'tis impossible to foretell : but whatever our success may prove, we declare by that AUGUST NAME prefixed to our title, for which we have the highest veneration, that nothing shall be published by us that can reflect a dishonour on OXFORD, and that we will sooner desist from our design, than depart from this just resolution.
The STUDENT, intends in a future number to give a
particular account of HIMSELF,
The Speech of John Fell, D. D. Bishop
Át his Triennial Visitation in the Year 1685.
LTHO' the lapse of three years since we met last
do of course occasion our meeting at this present, my desires to see and speak with you in our great and cominon concern offer a most forcible inducement.
I need not tell you in what condition the Church now is, assaulted by the furious malice of Papists on the cone hand and Fanaticks on the other, and, amidst the machinations of those who are zealous for a feet or party, more fatally attempted by the licentiousness and sloth of those who are indifferent to any or opposite to all. When these unhappy numbers are subducted, it is lamentable to think how few the remainder are, what scanty gleanings are left to God, amidst the plenteous harvest which the Devil makes.
To this calamity there can come, but one accession; That the torrent of impiety should bear down all refiftance, and at once countenance the disorders of the profane and the defpondency of the good, and thereby leave no sort of men untainted, and this I fear is in a great measure our case.
If at any time I press my Brethren of the Clergy, to labour the reduction of the Diflenters, I am told, they are perverse and proud, and will not hear, will not be treated with. If I require a constant diligence in offering the daily facrifice of Prayer for the people, at least at those returns which the Church enjoins, the usual answer is, they are ready to do their duty, but the people will not be prevailed with to join with them. If I call for Catechizing, it is said the Youth are backward and have no mind to come, and parents and masters are negligent to send thein. If I infift on frequent Sacraments, the indevotion
of the people is objected; they are not willing to communicate or they are not fit. And so when the Minister has thoroughly accused his flock, he thinks he has absolved himself, his Church becomes a Sine-Gure; and because others forbear to do their duty, there remains none for him to do.
But; my Brethren, do we think in earnest, that excuses of this kind can serve the turn; or that they will be admitted by the Almighty when he comes to judge the world? That our account for immortal Souls, the price of the blood of the Son of God; committed to our trust, will be To eafily dispatched ? At the great day of reckoning we shall find the contrary of this; if our people be negligent, we are the more obliged to industry, if they are indevout; we ought to be more zealous, if they are licentious; we ought to be more exemplary: where Sin abounds, Grace should much more abound. Nor let Man say, the people will not be prevailed upon : how know we what will be hereafter? They who resisted one attempt may yield unto anotherg or if they yield. not to a single instance, they may to many and more pressing; they who come not into the vineyard at the first or second; no not at the ninth or tenth hour; may be prevailed with at the eleventh or last: and as God Almighty is not weary, but stretches out his hand all the day long to a stiff-necked and gainsaying people, so must his Messengers continue their endeavours, mult preach the word, be instant in season and out of season, reprore, rebuke, exhort with long suffering and doctrine. As bad as times are, they are not worse than they were at the first planting of the Gospel, yet then tho' no inagistrates assisted, hay with all poslible violence opposed, tho' heathenism, vices and heresy; tho' men and devils set themselves against the truth with all their force and resolution, the courage and virtue of the Clergy then prevailed ; and if we would live as exemplary, labour as faithfully, and die as readily for our professions as they did, we thould not want the fame success: NUMB.