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tion of truth, with which the well being S of mankind, here and hereafter, is always,
more or less, connected.
You, Madam, have sufficiently shewn
Society, like yours, and that of our common and excellent friend Mr. Lindsey (without, however, excluding many others who think differently from us with respect to the object of this work, but whose christian spirit I revere, and, I hope, emu. late) is one chief source of my happiness here. And I have no greater wish than to rejoin such friends hereafter, and share in their pursuits in a future world, as I have done in the present ; 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 sun may, set with serenity, in the pleasing prospect of the
successful spread of that truth which it has been your great wish to promote, and of that future happy world, in which truth and yirtue will reign triumphant,
T H E
P R E F A C E.
HE History of the Corruptions of
Christianity I wrote as a sequel to my Institutes 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, such doctrines as those of the trinity, atonement, original fin, &c. arose, and got so firm an establishment in the creeds of so many persons profeffing christianity, with the genuine principles of which they are totally discordant.
That work having engaged me in a controversy with respect to the first article of it, viz. the History of Opinions concerning Christ, I have been led to give more parti. 3
çular 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 addressed; though, I hope, that the greatest part of it will be sufficiently intelligible to readers of good sense, who may not have had the advantage of a scholastic education.
In composing this work, I can truly say that I have spared neither time, labour, nor expence. When I formed the design of it, I was determined to do it from original writers, without even looking into any modern author whatever.
I therefore perused all the books of which a catalogue will be given at the close 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 passage that promised to throw light upon the subject.