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IN WHICH THE
Drigin of the Introductory Chapters
MATTHEW AND LUKE
IS BROUGHT TO LIGHT FROM JOSEPHUS,
AND IN WHICH THE PECULIAR
ARTICLES OF THE ORTHODOX FAITH
ARE TRACED TO THE
SYSTEM OF THE GNOSTICS,
WHO OPPOSED THE GOSPEL IN THE DAYS OF CHRIST AND HIS APOSTLES.
PRINTED FOR J. MAWMAN, 39, LUDGATE STREET.
110. i. 107.
N publishing my Ecclesiastical Researches, I had a view principally to this publication; though I intended to defer it to a later period, when I should have more leisure to do justice to the subject, and when the public might be more disposed to receive it. But if one time is more proper than another for such a discussion as that contained in this volume, it is the present, when the attention of men is directed, in a peculiar manner, to the free use of the Bible, unencumbered with commentaries, unshackled by articles of faith. This is not the case only in our own country: the Scriptures are diffused by the zeal and liberality of our countrymen over the vast continent of Asia, and the Pagan world are invited to study and embrace their con
The work now offered to the Public professes to unfold a stupendous imposture foisted into the New Testament; and to shew that the articles of faith generally maintained, even by the reformed Churches of Christendom, are founded in an incorporation of genuine Christianity with a base system, which at first had no other object than to destroy it; which by this union has actually brought on the dark ages, and held the moral and intellectual powers of man in the fetters of ignorance, superstition, and vice, for nearly fifteen hundred years. If this profession be well founded, it behoves all those who believe and value the gospel, and especially those good men who are en gaged in diffusing the free use of its records, to become acquainted with the fact, and with the arguments in its support.
I am aware, indeed, that the opinions I herc advance, and the freedom I have taken with those deemed sacred by the great majority of Christians, cannot fail to give of fence; and may alienate those in the Church of England and out of it, whose
friendship and character I greatly value. These are consequences which I am anxious to preclude; and would deprecate them by pleading that the duty of attempting where there is any prospect of success, to separate Christianity from its corruptions, and by separating it to restore its original purity and efficacy, so as to become again, as at the period of its first promulgation, an instrument to reform and improve the world, is too weighty and imperious, to be sacrificed to considerations of a personal nature; that the attempt, if founded in mistake or presumption, can be easily met and repelled in the field of controversy, where no weapons will be necessary but those of fair argumentation. If an adversary should engage to refute me, he will engage with every advantage on his side, deriving aid and encouragement from the sanction of antiquity, from the authority of learning, from the suffrage of the many. The author of the Sequel can look to no such encouraging aids. For a time at least he must stand, if he stand at all,