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PREFACE.

This Work, though important, from the subjects which it embraces, I deliver to the world with much diffidence, conscious as I am of its defective execution. It is not, however, a hasty production. It is the result of some of my maturest thoughts, and has received repeatedly a careful revisal. Yet after all, I fear that it will be found to have many faults, and to require much indulgence from the reader. But whatever may be its fate, I shall always have the pleasing reflection that it has been published with good intentions :published with a view to establish the faith of my fellow-creatures, and to promote both their present and future happiIn times, like the present, of prevailing infidelity, temptation, and vice, it becomes every friend of religion to sound the alarm to his brethren, and shew them the safety and excellence of the ground on which they are exhorted to stand. Irreligion and immorality are as injurious to the peace and order of society as to the best interests of the individual. He, therefore, who honestly endeavours to counteract their baleful influence, may well be considered as a friend of his species. It is from a deep conviction of this, that I have now presumed to come forward, and throw my mite into the treasury of talents.

ness.

I HAVE been solicitous in the discussion of my subjects, to avoid all party-peculiarities, because it is my earnest desire that what I have written should be impartially and seriously perused by persons of every denomination. I am not conscious of having expressed myself in an iniproper manner, concerning even those who are avowed infidels.-Our object should be to enlighten and persuade, and not needlessly to offend and prejudice.

The subjects here discussed, are among the most important and interesting that can engage the attention of the human mind. What can be more important and interesting than an inquiry into THE EXISTENCE, ATTRIBUTES, PROVIDENCE, AND MORAL GOVERNMENT OF GOD; AND INTO THE DUTY, CHARACTER, SECURITY, AND FINAL HAPPINESS OF HIS RIGHTEOUS SUBJECTS ?

-I hope that this Volume will, in many parts of it, throw some light upon the particulars now mentioned. At any rate, it appears to me to have the advantage of giving a more popular, uniform, and connected view of them, than is to be found in any publication which I have yet seen.

Though ponderous volumes have been composed on the Existence and Attributes of God, I have endeavoured to comprise every thing that appeared necessary on these heads in three short Dissertations. From the Existence, and Omnipresence, and Goodness of God, I have deduced all his other Attributes. My view of some of these is, perhaps, not common; but I have chosen it from a thorough conviction that it is the right one, and not from the mere vanity of being singular. In treating the different subjects that have occupied my attention, I have adopted that manner which seemed to me to be the most lucid, energetic, and useful.

I AM fully aware that in this small work, there will frequently be found a repetition of the same sentiment. But this, in the present case, could scarcely be avoided, and I confess that I have not been very anxious to avoid it; for, if a sentiment be useful and important, its being repeated, may tend to strengthen and confirm the impression of it.

The attentive reader will also readily observe, that my object has not been so much to embellish my style, as to explain clearly and forcibly my meaning, and thus to impress deeply on the mind, the momentous truths which I have endeavoured to discuss. The Author is unworthy of the public notice, who is not much more eager to digest and produce properly his matter, than merely to polish and beautify his language. Without correct and important ideas, of what avail are a multitude of fine words ?--But even with regard to language, I have endeavoured, though perhaps without much success, to appear not altogether negligent. The vehicle, as well as the articles conveyed, is certainly entitled to some consideration, and in the present case, will have no small influence in commending or disparaging their value.

In short, I have taken the utmost pains to avoid all mistakes; but I cannot flatter myself so far, as to imagine that I have uniformly succeeded. The candid reader will, I trust, pardon such imperfections as

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