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as I was anticipated or prevented by earlier writers in the cause.

To fome, however, it may appear too late to op pofe any thing now to the irreligious paffages in Mr, Voltaire's writings. For they will fay he hath made a public recantation of them all; and in proof of this, they will appeal to his Letter to the King of Pruffia, in which he exhorts him, 'Support, by your ❝edicts, and example, religion as a revelation derived from heaven, and founded upon a thoufand proofs; prevent the progress of evil, and form youth so as to be able to withstand the impreffion of incredu lity and libertinifm;' and, after having beftowed many praises on religion for its ufefulnefs and importance, concludes thus, You have nothing left to

defire in this world, Sire, but the auguft title of Christian Hero. My wishes for your majefty have tion there made of it is, It contains a fhort view of the evidences of ⚫ our religion, and an answer to objections against it. The zeal of the author is often without knowledge and difcretion.' Last year, alfo, as I think, there was advertised in the London Chronicle, The Philofophical Dictionary for the pocket, from the French of Monfieur Voltaire, with notes containing a refutation of fuch paffages as are any ways exceptionable in regard to religion: but I have not obferved in either of the Reviews hitherto, any account of its nature; nor am I even fure, though I wrote to a friend about it, whether any fuch confutation as the title boafts of is really there attempted. If any other pieces have been published which might be supposed to be directed to the fame end as that which I propofe, I am unacquainted with them. However, fince this fheet was fent to the press, I have learned that there were printed at Paris before the beginning of the prefent year, Letters from fame Portugueze and German Jews to M. de Vol'taire,' in the French language; wherein the authors point out many mistakes, inconfiftencies, contradictions and mifreprefentations in what he has advanced concerning the Jews and the writings of the Old Teftament. Appendix to 41ft vol. of M. Review, pag. 562.

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a more extensive object than tranfitory happiness. May you, Sire, give the world the magnanimous example of the fublime virtues of Christianity, and publicly disavow, as I do at prefent, thofe erroneous principles, and impious opinions, which will otherwife be tranfmitted with your writings to pofterity.'*

But, to omit that there is reafon to queftion whether this letter be genuine, of which neither the place nor the time are mentioned, fince it was furnished only by an unknown D. L. to the authors of the Town and Country Magazine, who fays again, he received it from a foreign nobleman in England, but does not reveal his name, (although indeed he avers he was certain of its authenticity ;) and that there is the greaterreafon to make this doubt, because, according to the freshest and most credible accounts from abroad, Mr. Voltaire is bargaining from time to time with bookfellers about new editions of his works, without ever correcting, or cancelling any offenfive parts in them.To pass further, that where he recommends religion in it, he feems to use the term in a very narrow fenfe, feeing he defines the deift, whom he contrafts with the religious man, not to be a perfon who denies the fcriptures; but a perfon who, 'In admitting 'the existence of a fupreme being, creator of the u

iverfe, maintains that this firft being is too great, and too high, to caft his eyes down upon earth, and 'attend to the works of a creature, fo mean and in'digent as man;' which looks as if, under religion

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This Letter, to which I refer, was printed in feveral periodital mifcellanies, and may be read in the Scots Magazine for Nov. 1769, PP. 576, 579. where it was republished from the Town and Country Magazine.

before dark and obfcure to them, by rescuing from the exceptions, or fcorn of fceptics, fome which they have objected to, or derided, and by explaining the genuineness and authenticity of any of its parts more fully and fatisfactorily, while they proceed under the animating power of fueh religious perfuafion to abound more and more in the fruits of righteousness; (for which ends I fincerely defire, and pray for the divine bleffing upon it,) I will think my labour here well laid out, and richly rewarded, and may then be more eafy and unconcerned under the cenfures I fhall suffer, either with regard to the motives of this work, or to defects in the manner of its performance. If not, I will at least have the fatisfaction which arifes from a confcious fenfe of having aimed well. Nor will they who may difallow or doubt this rectitude and purity of intention, deny that I have been employed agreeably to my office and profeffion.

As to the Appendix which is fubjoined, it is a defence of the credibility of the gospel history against Mr. Voltaire's exceptions to its truth, on account of the omiffion of the murder of the infants, and the prodigies, and miracles, by Jewish and Heathen writers; which I thus confider apart, because the cavils I examine and refute in the work itself, against this or that facred book, as hath been already intimated, are such alone as immediately and chiefly affect its genuinenefs or authenticity.---From the first, it was intended to have printed an appendix of another nature, concerning that falfe account of the treatment of the firft Chriftians by the Romans, which this fame author gives in different places of his works, but espe cially in the 8th and 9th chapters of his Treatise on

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nd may then be er the cenfures 1 che motives of this r of its performance. isfaction which arifes ing aimed well. Nor or doubt this rectitude that I have been emny ice and profeffion. ich is fubjoined, it is a de the gofpel hiftory against Mr. its truth, on account of the of the infants, and the prodi Jewish and Heathen writers; part, because the cavils I exawork itself, against this or that en already intimated, are fuch nd chiefly affect its genuineFrom the firft, it was intended Indix of another nature, connt of the treatment of the Romans, which this fame au places of his works, but efpe h chapters of his Treatife on

Toleration; where he also pretends, that among this people, from the days of Romulus to those in which the Chriftians began to difpute with the priests of the empire, there was not a fingle inftance of any perfon being perfecuted on account of his fentiments, but all religions were permitted. But as, by examining fo many paffages in his other compofitions, besides all these which were originally propofed to be remarked on in the Philofophy of Hiftory, this work hath increased under my hand to its prefent fize, it seemed more expedient to drop that defign, and the rather, because the subject would have been completely diftinct from that which is here handled.

Through the whole, I hope, it will be found, that I have not treated Mr. Voltaire with any undue feverity' and fharpnefs of expreffion. I am fure I intended to avoid this, whatever provocation there might be to it on many occafions, by the strongest proofs of a bigotted and blind zeal for infidelity. Far from wishing him any hurt, I wish he may enjoy all happinefs; and for this end, that he may become a firm believer of Christianity upon thefe rational grounds on which it challenges our af fent, and with diligence obey its holy precepts.

JUNE 30, 1770.


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