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A N

HISTORY

O F

EARLY OPINIONS

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.CONCERNING

JESUS CHRIST,

COMPILED FROM

ORIGINAL WRITERS;

PROVING THAT THE CHRISTIAN CHURCH WAS
AT FIRST UNITARIAN.

By JOSEPH PRIESTLEY, LL.D. F.R.S.

AC. IMP. PETROP. R. PARIS. HOLM. TAURIN. AUREL. MED.
PARIS. CANTAB. AMERIC. ETPIIILAD. SOCIUS.

V O L. I.

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BIRMINGHAM,

PRINTED FOR THE AUTHOR, BY PEARSON AND ROLLASOK,
AND SOtD BY J. JOHNSON, NO. 72, »T. PAVl't
CHURCH-YARD, LONDON.

MDCCLXXXVI.

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Madam,

"\7" OUR known zeal for the caufe in •*• the defence of which this work is compofed is my motive for prefixing your name to it. It is a great and important queftion that is now in agitation, and it is but juftice that pofterity mould, if poffible, be made acquainted with the names of thofe zealous advocates of truth, whofe

A 2 exertions exertions, though not in the character of writers, have yet, in various other ways, contributed to its successful spread. In this honourable class I know of few that are intitled to stand before that of Mrs. Rayner.

Such is our social nature, that those

who are actuated by the purest love of

truth, and whose views arc the most

single, feel, and therefore, in some degree,

want the additional motive which arises

from the concurrence of others, in a cause

in which the world in general is against

them. But a very few, united in a love

of truth, of the importance of which

they arc deeply sensible, will easily bear

up against any combination. Numbers,

power, wealth, long establishment, fashion,

interest, and every other advantage on the

side side of error, inspire no fear or distrust, but rather give courage to the small band that sight under the banners of truth and right. The contest itself is glorious, and their confidence of final success makes them easy, and even joyful, under all opposition.

Believing, as I am persuaded that you, Madam, as well as myself, do, that a wise Providence super-intends all events, guiding the thoughts and pursuits of every individual to the most proper object, and in the most proper time, we rejoice in seeing every question of great moment, and especially those relating to theology, become the subject of interesting discussion t well knowing that it is a prelude »*""~ to the enlargement of the minds of men, the detection of error, and the propagaA 3 tion

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