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thofe, who have the Honour to know Your Lordship; for they agree in teftifying Your favourable Inclination to countenance and protect any Clergyman, who endeavours to apply himself to Studies fuitable to his Profeffion.

The Defign 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 fuggefted by fome Writers, that there are Queftions to be made" about the Antiquity, Authority, Inspiration, "and Perfection of the Books "both of the Old and New

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"Teftament, and about the Mo"rality, religious Doctrines, and



"other Notions contained in

them; about the Harmony of "the Parts of thofe Books to one another, and their Contradiction to prophane History, and a"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 fhould evidence, as far as I have gone, that thereis nothing unreasonable or contradictory in the Scriptures, what might be done upon this Subject, if fome great Hand would treat it, and compose a Work worthy of Your Lordship's Acceptance and Protection? A 3

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The Licentioufnefs of fome modern Writers would bring a lafting Reproach upon the prefent Age, if their Sentiments could go down to Pofterity with any Marks of public Approbation. But as it is one Part of our present Happiness, so we cannot but confider with Pleafure, that, however fond fome are of objecting against all revealed Religion, or of representing our Legal Establishment of the Chriftian to be an Incroachment upon their Natural Rights and Civil Liberties; yet, when the Hiftory of thofe Times, which have been happily diftinguifhed by Your Lordship's conducting the pub

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lic Counfels, fhall be read hereafter, it will appear, that the truly great Perfons, 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 Perfecution in defence of even true Religion, as they were willing to favour those, who by proper Arguments, and a just Behaviour and Difpofition were industrious to recommend it to the World.

I am fenfible that my Ambition of Your Lordfhip's Fayour may be a Difadvantage to` my Performance, by creating A 4


Expectations, which nothing of mine can poffibly anfwer: But, as I flatter my felf, that a good Intention will appear through the whole; fo, I hope, the prefixing Your Lordship's Name will remind the feverer Readers, how difpofed the truly Great are to favour a well-meant Defign, tho' it be not executed by an Hand able to carry it thro' in a manner liable to no Exceptions.


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Your Lordship's moft Obedient

and most Humble Servant,

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