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FOUR PRINCIPAL RELIGIONS,
WHICH HAVE OBTAINED IN THE WORLD;
PAGANISM, MOHAMMEDISM, JUDAISM, AND
ALSO ON THE
CHURCH OF ENGLAND, AND OTHER DENOMI-
BY THE LATE REV. DAVID WILLIAMSON,
MINISTER OF the gospel, WHITEHAVEN.
A state of innocence we can only conceive, if indeed, in our present misery, it
IT is equally consistent with the strictest Equity, and the most scrupulous Decorum, that the following Work should be introduced to the World under your Lordship's Auspices; it being a Fact, that it would never have been published at all, had it not been sanctioned by your Lordship's Favour. It is a Circumstance which reflects great Credit on the Author's Memory, that, while living, he was honoured with particular Marks of your Lordship's Attention; and still greater, that the same liberal Benefactor has continued to manifest his Respect for departed Merit,
by patronising the Performance now offered to the Public. Hence, by an immutable Law of Nature, the Honour conferred upon the more humble Individual, is reflected with increased Lustre upon the Noble Personage from whom it emanated.
That your Lordship may continue long to live in the Possession of every Enjoyment that can add а Value to Existence, and, "when the Beauty of this World shall have passed away," receive the glorious Reward of well-doing, is the fervent Prayer of,
LIFE OF THE AUTHOR.
NATURE has implanted in the human mind a strong desire to be acquainted with the leading circumstances of the lives of those individuals whom she has distinguished by peculiar endowments; whether of learning, of virtue, or of any other eminent quality: as though Providence had designed that their example, and wellearned reputation, should stimulate others to aim at excellence. "Spirits are not finely touched but to fine issues," says the great Poet of Nature.
It is in the physical as in the moral world. The most delightful scenery is sometimes found in the most sequestered and unfrequented situations. A distant view of a mountainous region furnishes the mind with few ideas except those of bleakness and sterility; and it is only on a closer approximation, that the traveller discovers those combinations of beauty, grandeur, and immensity, which exhibit nature in her most magnificent and majestic dress: it is then that he begins to perceive all the richness of the opening landscape; and it is then that the scene, which had recently exhibited little more than one unbroken chain of "cold and barren mountains," is changed to his astonished eye; and he beholds, with still increasing delight, the fertile and picturesque valleys which are interspersed in endless and ever-varying beauty, through these unpromising and uninviting regions. There is something analogous to this in the contemplation of secluded and retiring merit. The most exalted vir