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THE RIGHT REVEREND
EDMUND LAW, D.D.
LORD BISHOP OF CARLISLE:
HAD the obligations which I owe to your Lordship's kindness been much lefs or, much fewer, than they are; had perfonal gratitude left any place in my mind for deliberation or for enquiry; in selecting a name which every reader might confess to be prefixed with propriety to a work; that; in many of its parts, bears no obfcure relation to the general principles of natural and revealed religion, I fhould
have found myself directed by many confiderations to that of the Bishop of Carlisle. A long life spent in the most interesting of all human pursuits, the investigation of moral and religious truth, in conftant and unwearied endeavours to advance their discovery, communication, and fuccefs of both; a life fo occupied, and arrived at that period which renders every life venerable, commands respect by a title which no virtuous mind will dispute, which no mind fenfible of the importance of these studies to the fupreme concernments of mankind will not rejoice to fee acknowledged. Whatever difference, or whatever opposition, fome who perufe your Lordship's writings may perceive between your conclufions
clusions and their own, the good and wise of all persuasions will revere that industry, which has for its object the illustration or defence of our common Christianity. Your Lordship's researches have never lost sight of one purpose, namely, to recover the simplicity of the gospel from beneath that load of unauthorized additions, which the ignorance of some ages, and the learning of others, the superstition of weak, and the craft of designing men, have (unhappily for its interest) heaped upon it. And this purpose, I am convinced, was dictated by the purest motive; by a firm, and I think a just opinion, that whatever renders religion more rational, renders it more credible ; that he who, by a dili
gent and faithful examination of the original records, dismisses from the system one article which contradicts the apprehension, the experience, or the reasoning of mankind, does more towards recommending the belief, and, with the belief, the influence of Christianity, to the understandings and consciences of serious enquirers, and through them to universal reception and authority, than can be effected by a thousand contenders for creeds and ordinances of human establishment.
When the doctrine of transubstantiation had taken possession of the Christian world, it was not without the industry of learned men that it came at length to be discovered, that