London: Printed for J. Peele, at Locke's-Head in Amen- Corner, 1731. ,67,pp. Octavo. Extracted from pamphlet volume. Residue of old spine, half-title a bit dust- soiled, early ink name on title and monogram on verso, short tear at top edge of terminal leaf, otherwise a very good copy. Item #WRCLIT65898
First (?) edition. ESTC delineates eight variant printings (or issues) of this tract dated 1731, discriminated chiefly by variants in the press figures and similar subtleties. This copy is the variant with page 54 misnumbered 45, and press figure 1 on pp. 16, 33, 64; 2 on pp. 4, 6, 27, 43; and 4 on p.56. The first element in a substantial and extensive pamphlet controversy, in which Middleton "gravely offended the church hierarchy by attacking one of its most respected members, Daniel Waterland. After Waterland's work SCRIPTURE VINDICATED appeared in reply to CHRISTIANITY AS OLD AS THE CREATION (1730), by the deist Matthew Tindal, Middleton produced .. [this work] which advised against trying to defend the historical accuracy of the Bible and advocated challenging Tindal's reliance on a ‘religion of nature’. To answer the deist Middleton argued that, since right reason was never found to be a sufficient guide, many heathens regarded this inadequacy ‘as the very cause of the invention and establishment of Religion’" - DNB. ESTC locates a single copy of this variant, at the Boston Athenaeum. ESTC N67145.