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those, who have the Honour to know Your Lordship; for they agree in testifying Your favourable Inclination to countenance and protect any Clergyman, who endeavours to apply himself to Studies suitable to his Profession.

The Design of my Attempt is to vindicate the Truth of revealed Religion, as far as the History of the Times I treat of gives me Opportunity. It is suggested by some Writers, that there are Questions to be made “ about the Antiquity, Authority, Inspiration, " and Perfection of the Books “ both of the Old and New “ Testament, and about the Morality, religious Doctrines, and

or other

“ other" Notions contained in " them; about the Harmony of - the Parts of those Books to one " another, and their contradiction

to prophane History, and aw bout the Miracles reported in " them.” I have brought down the Inquiry from the Beginning; I have examined (I hope] with the greatest Freedom, and if even my imperfect Endeavours should evidence, as far as I have gone, that thereis nothing unreasonable or contradictory in the Scriptures, what might be done upon this Sụbject, if some great Hand would treat it, and compose a Work worthy of Your Lordship's Acceptance and Protection?


The Licentiousness of some modern Writers would bring a lasting Reproach upon the prefent Age, if their Sentiments could go down to Pofterity with any Marks of public Approbati

But as it is one Part of our present Happiness, so we cannot but consider with Pleasure, that, however fond some are of objecting against all revealed Religion, or of representing our Legal EItablishment of the Christian to be an Incroachment upon

their Natural Rights and Civil Liberties ; yet, when the History of those Times, which have been happily distinguished by Your Lordship’s conducting the pub


lic Counsels, shall be read hereafter, it will appear, that the truly great Persons, who did most for the public Happiness and Liberties of Mankind, were the truest Patrons of the Universities, the Church, and Clergy, and that, in the best manner ; by being as averse to all Thoughts of Persecution in defence of even true Religion, as they were willing to favour those, who by proper Arguments, and a juft Behaviour and Difpofition were industrious to recommend it to the World.

I am sensible that my Ambition of Your Lordship's Fayour may be a Disadvantage to my Performance, by creating

Expectations, which nothing of mine can possibly answer: But, as I Hatter my self, that a good Intention will appear through the whole ; so, I hope, the prefixing Your Lordship's Name will 'remind the severer Readers, how disposed the truly Great are to favour a well-meant Design, tho’ it be not executed by an Hand able to carry it thro’ in a manner liable to no Exceptions.

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