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Dk. Watts has wisely observed, that there are few studies so worthy a man as the knowledge of himself ; that many advantages attend a right notion herein. Under this impression, the writer of these pages has from time to time committed his thoughts to paper, but never with a view to make them public till within a short period; having uniformly had cause to be humbled at the very limited powers of which he conceived man possessed in order to obtain any thing like certainty in this knowledge; believing that all true wisdom must be per. fected from that source from whence it alone originates; and though the greatest part of this work has been written near
sixteen years, he does not mean to be understood that the whole that is here presented has been so long compiled, there being matters interwoven . which the circumstances of the present times have in some degree called forth.
One principal object of the present work is to collect into one point of view some leading arguments which have been used by different authors in support of the principles of Christianity, where they have been particularly led to oppose the pernicious principles of deists and infidels of every description ; for which purpose it will be found that a considerable use has been made. of the works of various learned men : and having professed this, the writer does not think it will be necessary to burden the pages in every case with a reference immediately to every translation or author of
which he has availed himself. It has been: a general complaint of those who have not believed in Divine or Christian revelation, that others who have opposed them, having imagined they had such a host of evidence on their side, have seldom considered the necessity of lowering themselves so far as to be on even ground with their opponents : those for instance who defend themselves against atheism almost invariably assert" the existence of a God” as the groundwork of their argument, without considering that, in order to ascertain the fact, it is absolutely necessary to prove in what manner he does exist, before any right deduction can clearly follow from their evidence. This has been particularly attended to.
And as the Scriptures are either doubted or disbelieved by sceptics or infidels, some care has been taken to avoid bringing them as the only proof of the fallibility of man..