combat and repel thofe ungenerous attacks on the happiness of fociety in general, and of every individual impressed with the fublime doctrine and comfortable truths contained in Divine revelation.

A refpectable Prelate of our church (b) first traced out to me (by the most weighty arguments, and in the most perfuafive language) the road which leads to truth. A ferious and clofe 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 fame advantage from them.

A tranflation of this nature was no easy task to me; and, I fear, frequent Gallicifms, and inaccuracies of ftyle, will occur. My chief endeavours were to adhere ftrictly to the text (c),


(b) The Bishop of Chefter. A fermon of his, which I accidentally heard at Bath, and afterwards the perufal of his printed discourses, produced the effect above mentioned.

(c) The volume which I prefent to the public, was detached from the Philof. Palingenefis, and printed separately, in 1770.-In the last edition of Mr. Bonnet's Works, the Inquiries into Christianity are contained in his A 3 Philof.

except in thofe particular inftances where I have apologized, and affigned my reasons for deviating from it.

Philof. Palingenefis, and form the 18th, 19th, 20th, and 21ft Parts; to these I have added a part of the 17th, which Mr. B. has intitled Introduction to the Inquiries. The preface was in the first edition, 1770, and has been fuppreffed in the last complete edition.

BATH, 1787.






T was one great object of my attention, in these Inquiries, not to admit as effential, whatever might be reasonably objected to in found philofophy. I therefore fet out from thofe facts alone which are the best attefted, and from these I have only drawn the most direct and immediate conclufions. I have not spoken of demonftration, but of probability only. I have not fuppofed any one to be an unbeliever; the words incredulous, and incredulity, are not even menA 4 tioned

tioned in my book. The objections of various kinds, which I have difcuffed, have arifen from the nature of my fubject, and I have raised these objections against myself. I have carefully avoided controversy; defirous 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 fect;-but I have enlarged fomewhat 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 addrefs myself, are those, whose doubts proceed from an honeft heart; who have endeavoured to remove and fettle those doubts, and to folve objections, but have not fucceeded 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 certain

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