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tion of truth, with which the well being of mankind, here and hereafter, is always, more or less, connected.

You, Madam, have fufficiently fhewn a mind fuperior to every thing that this world can hold out in oppofition to the claims of reafon and confcience; and the knowledge that I have of your enlarged views, and your noble intrepidity in following truth wherever you apprehend it to lead you, and in overlooking all obftacles that would oppofe right conduct, will always, I hope, increase my own zeal and firmness in the fame caufe. Such ex

amples are ever prefent to my mind; and it is impoffible that they fhould be contemplated without fome beneficial influence.

Society

Society, like yours, and that of our common and excellent friend Mr. Lindsey (without, however, excluding many others who think differently from us with refpect to the object of this work, but whose christian spirit I revere, and, I hope, emulate) is one chief fource of my happiness here. And I have no greater with than to rejoin fuch friends hereafter, and share in their pursuits in a future world, as I have done in the prefent; not doubting but that we shall find proper objects for the exercise of that ardent love of truth, and that zeal and activity in promoting it (as well as for the principles of piety and benevolence in general) which have been formed here.

Wishing that

your fun may fet with ferenity, in the pleafing profpect of the

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fuccessful spread of that truth which it has been your great wish to promote, and of that future happy world, in which truth and virtue will reign triumphant,

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PREFACE.

TH

Corruptions of

HE Hiftory of the Christianity I wrote as a fequel to my Inftitutes of Natural and Revealed Religion, and therefore chiefly for the use of the unlearned, who might wish to know in what manner, and from what causes, fuch doctrines as those of the trinity, atonement, original fin, &c. arofe, and got so firm an establishment in the creeds of so many perfo fons profeffing christianity, with the genuine principles of which they are totally difcordant.

That work having engaged me in a controverfy with refpect to the firft article of it, viz. the Hiftory of Opinions concerning Chrift, I have been led to give more parti

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cular attention to the subject; and this has produced the materials for the work which I now present to the public, and especially to the learned, to whom it is more particularly addreffed; though, I hope, that the greatest part of it will be fufficiently intelligible to readers of good fenfe, who may not have had the advantage of a fcholaftic education.

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In compofing this work, I can truly say that I have spared neither time, labour, nor expence. When I formed the defign of it, I was determined to do it from original writers, without even looking into any modern author whatever. I therefore perufed all the books of which a catalogue will be given at the clofe of the work (which are all that I could purchase, or conveniently borrow) with as much care as I thought the nature of each required, having only one object in view; and I did not knowingly overlook any paffage that promised to throw light upon the subject.

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