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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 .thexfntiquity, authority,inspiration,andper:\\.:fectioji oiFthe books both of the Old and New •"•Te&artjenJ^ ^nd about the morality, religious . ;d^otriBes; and other notions contained in '•them; about the harmony of the parts of those books to one another, and their contradiction to profane history, and about the miracles reported in them." I have brought down the enquiry 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 there is nothing unreasonable or contradictory in the Scriptures; what might be done upon this subject, 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 present age, if their sentiments could go down to posterity with any marks of public approbation. 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 establishment of the Christian to be an encroachment 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 public counsels, shall be read hereafter; it will appear, that the truly great persons, who did most for the pub-. He 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 just behaviour and disposition, were industrious to recommend it to the world.