Henry Craik, ed. English Prose. 1916. Vol. III. Seventeenth Century
On Human Fallibility
By Samuel Clarke (16751729)
From Sermon on the Grace of God
THE CAUSE of erroneous opinions, in this and most other questions about which there have at any time been raised any controversies, is generally this; that men attending to one point only, and being solicitous to oppose strongly some particular error, have been apt to do it in such a manner, as has carried them out beyond the truth of the argument, and prevented them from guarding against being exposed to error in some contrary extreme. Thus in disputing against the errors of the Church of Rome, incautious persons have frequently been betrayed by an unwise zeal to make use of such arguments, as they were not aware might at the same time be alleged by others of an opposite persuasion with the same force against themselves. And nothing is more common, than for others on the contrary, in the heat of controversy with some of their brethren who differ from them, to draw such arguments from church-authority, and general councils, and the like; as they are not enough sensible may on any other occasion be used against themselves by those of the Church of Rome, with at least as great and perhaps greater force.