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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.
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