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combat and repel those ungenerous attacks on the happiness of society in general, and of every individual impressed with the sublime doctrine and comfortable truths contained in Divine revelation.
A respectable. Prelate of our church (6) first traced out to me (by the most weighty arguments, and in the most persuasive language) the road which leads to truth. A serious and close perufal of the
following Inquiries, confirmed my belief in Christianity; and it will afford me the most heart-felt pleasure, if others should derive the same advantage from them.
A translation of this nature was no easy task to me; and, I fear, frequent Gallicisms, and inaccuracies of style, will occur. My chief endeavours were to adhere strictly to the text (c),
(b) The Bishop of Chester. - A sermon of his, which I accidentally heard at Bath, and afterwards the perusal of his printed discourses, produced the effect above mentioned.
(c) The volume which I present to the public, was detached from the Philos. Palingenesis, and printed separately, in 1770.-In the last edition of Mr. Bonnet's Works, the Inquiries into Christianity are contained in his
except in those particular instances where I bave apologized, and asigned my reafons for deviating from it.
Philof. Palingenefis, and form the 18th, 19th, 20th, and 21st Parts; to these I have added a part of the 17th, which Mr. B. has intitled Introduction to the Inqui. ries. The preface was in the first edition, 1770, and has been suppressed in the last complete edition,
A U Τ Η ο R.
T was one great object of my
attention, in these Inquiries, not to admit as essential, whatever might be reasonably objected to in sound philosophy. I therefore set out from those facts alone which are the best attested, and from these I have only drawn the most direct and immediate conclusions. I have not spoken of demonftration, but of probability only. I have not supposed any one to be an unbeliever; the words incredulous, and incredulity, are not even men
tioned in my book. The objections of various kinds, which I have discussed, have arisen from the nature of my subject, and I have raised these objections against myself. I have carefully avoided controversy; desirous that these Inquiries might be read and approved by all Christian societies. I have been also very cautious not to treat of doctrines ; ----far be it from me to offend any particular sect ;-but I have enlarged somewhat on the beauty and excellence of the Chriftian doctrines.
I have not equally enlarged upon every proof; but I have pointed them out, and have principally applied myself to those which the Miracles furnish.
The readers to whom I chiefly address myself, are those, whose doubts proceed from an honest heart; who have endeavoured to remove and settle those doubts, and to folve objections, but have not succeeded in their endeavours. I could not, neither ought I, to address myself to those whose-understandings are perverted by the depravity of their hearts.
Among the many arguments which I have produced, there are fome which I cannot claim as my own; a subject which, for these eighteen centuries, has been treated by the greatest and most learned men, did not admit of much novelty. My chief aim has been to discover a compendious, a more