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THENEW YORK PUBLIC LIBRARY

ASTOR, LENOX AND TILDEN FOUNDATIONS.

1897.

TO

THE RIGHT REVEREND

EDMUND LAW, D, D.

LORD BISHOP OF CARLISLE.

MY LORD,

Had the obligations which I owe to your Lordship's kindness been much less, or much fewer, than they arė; had personal gratitude left aný place in my mind for deliberation or forenquiry; in selecting a name which every reader might confess to be prefixed with propriety to a work, that, in many of its parts, bears no obscure relation to the general principles of natural and revealed religion, I should

have

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have found myself directed by many considerations to that of the Bishop of Carlisle. A long life spent in the most interesting of all human pursuits, the investigation of moral and religious truth, in constant and unwearied endeavours to advance their discovery, communication and success of both; a life so occupied, and arrived at that period which renders every life venerable, commands respect by a title which no virtuous mind will dispute, which no mind sensible of the importance of these studies to the supreme concernments of mankind will not rejoice to see acknowledged. Whatever difference, or whatever opposition, some who peruse your Lordship’s writings may perceive between your con

clusions

clusions and their own, the good and wife of all persuasions will revere that industry, which has for its object the illustration or defence of our common Christianity. Your Lordship’s researches have never lost sight of one purpose, namely, to recover the fimplicity of the gospel from beneath that load of unauthorized additions, which the ignorance of some ages, and the learning of others, the fuperftition of weak, and the craft of designing men, have (unhappily for its interest) heaped upon it. And this purpose, I am convinced, was dictated by the purest motive; by a firm, and I think a just opinion, that whatever renders religion more rational, renders it more credible; that he who, by a diliA 4

gent

gent and faithful examination of the original records, dismisses from the fyftem one article which contradicts the apprehension, the experience, or the reasoning of mankind, does more towards recommending the belief, and, with the belief, the influence of Christianity, to the understandings and consciences of serious enquirers, and through them to universal reception and authority, than can be effected by a thousand contenders for creeds and ordinances of human eltablishment.

When the doctrine of Transubstantiation had taken possession of the Christian world, it was not without the industry of learned men that it came at length to be discovered, that

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