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A Second Edition, therefore, is now presented to the Public;-and to it are added fome further Conclufions;-which have made even a more forcible impreffion upon my own mind, than those I ventured to adopt in the original Work:-and which appear to me to be capable of being fomewhat useful to others; as tending to remove, many of the objections of unreasonable men;and fome of those other obftacles, that have fo often been allowed, on the first dawn of enquiry, to have too much weight, in the minds of those who are seriously turning their thoughts to fearch the Scriptures.
But, in order to do juftice to the Purchafers of the former edition, all these additional Conclufions are now comprized in fourteen distinct Differtations; and are printed in a Volume by themfelves, in Quarto; as well as in Octavo; -that the whole of them may be purchafed
chafed feparately, without purchasing this new Octavo edition of the whole Work; and that the former Publication may be thereby rendered in itself, as complete as this,
For the fame purpose, also, a General Index is now added; which has references, in two columns, equally to the pages of the former Quarto edition, and to the pages of this Octavo edition.
And as the Morfels of Criticism have been referred to, by fome other writers; and also, in fome other publications, which I have myself ventured into the world; the original pages of the Quarto edition, are marked in the margin of the Octavo edition;-for the exprefs purpose only, of faving trouble, to any perfons who may think thofe references at any time deferving any attention: and that both editions may be equally A 4 fatisfac
fatisfactory to the poffeffors.-It is to be hoped, therefore, that this endeavour merely to do juftice, will never be imputed to arrogance.
Further; in order to complete the purpose of making every thing clear, and perfpicuous;—it may now be proper to add here,-that the first edition of this Book was published on the 18th of January 1788;-and had been fent to the prefs, fo early as November 4th 1786. And that this prefent edition is fcrupulously printed, from the Quarto edition, very nearly word for word; only correcting fome very few palpable errors, that there had been of the press; and one paffage, Vol. I. p. 422, (which was 283, in the former edition,) where the meaning was not quite fo clearly expreffed, as I could have wished.
The whole of the contents of these
Volumes, are the refult of the moft ferious, and deep meditations of the mind, of a very fincere, difinterested Layman ;-who could have no worldly motives whatever for the pursuit.
As fuch, therefore;-to the lively, and volatile, who may be ready to treat the whole with levity, and fcoffing, I will venture to fay;-that there is nothing in these fubjects here treated of, that could at all interest me,—but what does in reality as much, or even more deeply concern them;-however they may at prefent defpife the whole.
And to the Sincere Minifters of The Word of God, I will venture to say ;that the Words of our BLESSED LORD, THEIR GREAT MASTER, ought ever to be had in their remembrance:
He that is not again us, is on our part.
And that, the more the discoveries of those who fearch out the wondrous works of Creation, and the fecret operations of thofe that are called the powers of nature;--and the more the continual records of History,—are brought, unitedly to elucidate, and explain the difficult paffages in Sacred Writ ;-the more is the cause of that Truth promoted, of which They are the profeffed Guardians, and, in Apoftolical language, the Immediate Ambafadors.
Let them therefore accept, in good part, the labours, and honeft endeavours, of a plain honest man.