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MORAL AND POLITICAL
BY WILLIAM PALEY, D. D.
RECTOR OF BISHOP-WEARMOUTH.
ELEVENTH AMERICAN EDITION.
PUBLISHED BY RICHARDSON AND LORD.
EDMUND LAW, D. D.
LORD BISHOP OF CARLISLE.
HAD the obligations which I owe to your Lordship’s kindness been much less, or much fewer than they are; had personal gratitude left any place in my mind for deliberation or for inquiry; 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 obscure relation to the general principles of nature and revealed religion, I should have found myself directed by many considerations 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 constant and unwearied endeavours to advance the discovery, communication, and success of both; a life 50 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 sensible of the importance of these studies to the supreme concernments of mankind will not re
joice to see acknowledged. Whatever difference, or whatever opposition, some who peruse your Lordship’s writings may perceive between your conclusions 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 dilligent 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 Cbristianity, to the understandings and consciences of serious inquiries, 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