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[168] The character of the men who controlled public opinion in that day, and the patriotic and Christian age in which they lived, utterly disprove the gross assumption that they yielded themselves up to falsify the truth and the conscience that was in them, and become a mere corporation of land-pirates and freebooters! If our ignorance of the history of those times should disqualify us to account for the existence of this state of public opinion on any strictly rational grounds, common sense would forbid that we assign for it so unreasonable a cause as this; whilst the least that charity could suggest would be, that we place it among those things for which we were unable to account.

From the time they were first introduced into the colonies, about 1620, to the time the system may be considered as permanently established, makes a period of some hundred and fifty years. Among the eminent personages who appeared in Great Britain during this period, and did not fail to impress their genius and moral character upon the age in which they lived, we may mention, James I., Cromwell, and William III., Burnet, Tillotson, Barrow, South, with Bunyan and Milton; and also Newton and Locke.

In the colonies, during this time, there lived Cotton Mather, Brainerd, Eliot, and Roger Williams;

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