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THE PREFACE.

PRE FACE.

Y THOUGHT that it might be of service if I preI fixed to this poem a few remarks on some of the proofs of the truth of Christianity. It is required in an age like this, when the adversaries of the gospel are so vehement in their attacks upon it, that its friends should exert themselves in its defence. It is at such a time inexcusable in those, who know the truth and advantage of it, who have leisure, and understand any of the arguments in its favour, not to support it as far as they are able. Not to defend, is here almost as bad as to desert.

? And now before I proceed further, I will assure him who honours me with an attention to these pages, that I mean to treat of the subject in a manner which is totally devoid of all improper heat or bigotry. I am desirous of making a manly appeal to reason. I feel for him who rejects the gospel, as I do for the sick man who spurns the medicine which can relieve him. I would forbear in a dispute with him from every opprobrious term. I cannot conceive it possible, with out a inan's understanding is perverted, that he should think it agreeable to the gospel, to treat his antagonist in an argument with ill-nature or intemperance. He should learn from that gospel, if he is not disposed to it from himself, to treat him with mildness and with patience. It seems also to me to be a consequence of the conviction of truth, that one should dispute of it with calmness as well as firmness. It certainly is best, as a noble * poet finely expresses it,

By winning words to conquer willing hearts,
And make persuasion do the work of fear.

The proofs of the truth of Christianity are so various that I scarcely know which I shall first adduce. The nature of a preface will not allow me to dwell upon many of them. I shall confine myself therefore, to some of the most important and satisfactory. It cannot be expected that there will be much novelty in arguments upon this subject. It may be useful however to engage the attention to such arguments, though they may have been urged before. I conceive the arguments advanced in this work, in favour of Christianity to be unanswcrable. In saying this, however, I would not wish to be understood as boasting

* Milton, in Paradise Regained.

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