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NOTWITHSTANDING the apprehension of exciting displeasure in the breasts of many worthy men, I feel myself obliged to lay before the public at large this my selfdefence, intitled " A FINAL APPEAL to the Christian Public." I however confidently hope that the liberal among them will be convinced, by a reference to the first part of this Essay and to my two former Appeals, that the necessity of self. vindication against the charge of being an “ injurer of the cause of truth,” has compelled me, as a warm friend of that cause, to bring forward my reasons for opposing the opinions maintained by 80 large a body of men highly celebrated for learning and piety; a consideration which, I trust, will induce them to regard my present labours with an eye of indulgence.
I am well aware that this difference of sen. timent has already occasioned much cool. ness towards me in the demeanour of some whose friendship I hold very dear; and tbat this protracted controversy has not only pre. vented me from rendering my humble services
to my countrymen, by various publications, which I had projected in the native languages, but has also diverted my attention from all other literary pursuits for three years past. Notwithstanding these sacrifices, I feel well sa. tisfied with my presentengagements, and cannot wish that I had pursued a different course ; since whatever may be the opinion of the world, my own conscience fully approves of my past endeavours to defend what l'esteem the cause of truth.
: In my present vindication of the unity of the Deity, as revealed through the writings of the Old and New Testaments, I appeal not only to those who sincerely believe in the Books of Revelation, and make them the standard of their faith and practice, and who must therefore deeply feel the great importance of the Divine oracles being truly interpreted; but I also appeal to those who, although indifferent about religion, yet devote their minds to the investigation and discovery of truth, and who will therefore not think it unworthy of their attention to ascertain what are the genuine doctrines of Christianity, as taught by Christ and his Apostles, and how much it has been corrupted by the subsequent intermixture of the polytheistical ideas that were familiar to its Greek and Roman converts, and which have continued to disfigure it in succeeding ages. I extend my appeal yet further; I 80. licit the patient attention of such individuals as are rather unfavourable to the doctrines of Christianity as generally promulgated, from finding them at variance with common sense, - that they may examine and judge whether its doctrines are really such as they are understood to be by the popular opinion, which now prevails.
I feel assured that if religious controversy be carried on, with that temper and language which are considered by wise and pious men, as' most consistent with the solemn and sacred nature of religion, and more especially with the mild spirit of Christianity, the truths of it cannot, for any length of time, be kept concealed, under the imposing veil of high-sounding expressions, calculated to astonish the imagination and rouse the passions of the people, and thereby keep alive and strengthen the preconceived notions, with which such language has in their minds been, from infancy, associated. But I regret that The method which has hitherto been observed in inquiry after religious truth, by means of large publications, necessarily issued at con
siderable intervals of tiale, is not, for sereral Teasons, so well adapted to the speedy attainment of the proposed object, as I, and other friends of true religion, could wish. These reasons are as follows:
18t. Many readers have not sufficient leisure or perseverance to go through a voluminous Essay, that they may make up their minds and come to a settled opinion on the subject.
2ndly. Those who have time at their com. mand and interest themselves in religious researches, finding the real point under discus. sion mixed up with injurious insinuations and personalities, soon feel discouraged from pro. ceeding further, long before they can come to a determination.
3rdly. The multiplicity of arguments and various interpretations of numerous scriptural passages, that bear often no immediate relation to the subject or to each other, introduced in succession, distract and dishear. ten such readers as are not acustomed to Biblical studies, and interrupt their further progress.