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TO

THE READER

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This Publication is intended to temove an objection to the Divine Origin of the Gospel, to promote Christian Morality and to serve the Sick Pook of the Author's Parish in Dublin. This work which he is publishing by subscription for their benefit cleared 200l.: with which sum he purchased two debentures that will produce a permanent Fund of 1ol. a year. Near 2501. which another work of his produced in 1795 were devoted then as the iol. a year will be in future to the poor, without regard to religious distinctions. When ther the work is likely to terve the cause of Religion and Virtue the judicious Reader will determine.

This history is not intended to magnify the errors or vices of sects ; but to render Christianity amiable by á display of its ada vantages, and to strike Thame into the un

believer

believer who reviles or derides so useful an institution. The Author hopes his exertions have been more usefully employed against the enemies of the Gospel in general, than if they had been directed against fectaries who, while they err in some points, admit the fundamental'articles of our religion.

To the usual arguments for the Divine Authority of the Gospel, this history adds one which requires no extent of learning, nor any other than common powers of mind to comprehend it; namely, that Christianity has actually operated for the benefit of mankind and as might be expected from a religion profeffing to be divine. -:

Bayle, Shaftsbury, Voltaire, Rousseau, Gib. bon and other infidel writers have endeavour. ed to prove religion injurious or useless«-a fource of perfecutions and troubles, of enthufiasm and fuperftition. Could such a charge -be made good the direct evidences of Chriltianity would have little weight; for were they as strong as mathematical demonftrations they must still be infufficient to prove that God was the Author of a religion which has actually been injurious or even useless to his creatures.

The author of the following pages afcribes to Christianity the good deeds of its teachers, of religious princes and of its professors in general ; where thofe decds were the natural fruits of its letter or spirit. A history of the effects of Christianity is necessarily confined to its proper fruits ; and it is as necessarily

silent

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