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LET NOT HIM THAT GIRDETH ON HIS HARNESS BOAST

HIMSELF AS HE THAT PUTTETH IT OFF.

KINGS, XX. 11.

BIRMINGHAM,

PRINTED BY PEARSON AND ROLLASON, FOR
J. JOHNSON, NO. 72, ST. PAUL'S CHURCH-YARD, LONDON.

MDCCLXXXIII.

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THE

PREF A CE.

MY defign in writing the Hiftory of the Corruptions of Chriftianity, it will eafily be perceived, was to compose a work proper for the use of all chriftians, learn ed and unlearned, and indeed chiefly the latter. Also, having an extenfive object before me, I did not give much more attention to one part of the scheme than to another.. On these accounts I avoided all unneceffary quotations from original writers in the languages in which they wrote, especially in Greek, which I had great difficulty in getting printed; but I gave some paffages that were of particular value, and in Latin, and distinctly refered to as many others as I had actually made use of myfelf; making a point of referring to none, at firft or fecond hand, of which I faw any reafon to doubt.

It has happened that hitherto the first article in my work, viz. The Hiftory of

opinions

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opinions concerning Chrift, has attracted the more particular notice of critics, which has led me to ftudy this fubject more than I fhould otherwife have done; and I think it will probably engage my attention fome time longer. Indeed, as the question is of particular importance, I think it right to take every method in my power to invite and promote the fulleft difcuffion of it. With this view, I replied to fome remarks of a writer in the Monthly Review, which, though not in the leaft affecting my principal argument, gave me an opportunity to add fome new illuftrations.

Dr. Horley's Charge to his clergy has afforded me another opportunity of re-examining the fubject; and the refult, which is now before the reader, has been, as I think, a farther illuftration and a stronger confirmation of my original pofition, viz. that the belief that Chrift was a mere man, naturally poffeffed of no other powers than other men have, but a diftinguished meffenger of God, and the chief instrument

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in his hands for the good of men, was the original faith of the chriftian church, confifting both of Jews and Gentiles.

This controverfy, I hope, will continue, either with Dr. Horley, or some other perfon. Nothing, however, fhall be wanting on my part to keep it up, fo long as any new light fhall appear to be thrown upon the queftion in debate; and after this I intend to compofe an entire work on this fubject only; ftating, in as clear a light as I fhall be able, the evidence of the above important truth (for fuch I cannot help confidering it) as it fhall then appear to me, with all the proper authorities in the original languages, and leave it to make whatever impreffion it may on the minds of others, having then done my duty with respect to it..

In the mean time, I am by no means fanguine in my expectations from the effect of the most forcible arguments, on the minds of those who are at present indifpofed

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