« PoprzedniaDalej »
in the republic of letters. Learning hath revived, and, probably, in fubsequent ages will eminently flourish, ainong the Protef, tant Dissenters, fince the institution of those excellent seminaries in London, Daventry, Warrington, Exeter, and Caermarthen, superintended and conducted by persons who have made fingular attainments in all the branches of polite and useful science. There is only one thing, which can prevent Religion and Learning from being, in future, cultivated with that generous affiduity, and pushed to that exalted pinnacle of improvement and perfection to which they are now advancing; and this is ---that prevailing love of pleasure, that abandoned luxury and debauchery, that rage for trifling amusements and diverfions, that diffoluteness and diffipation, which have now descended even among the lower classes of society, and threaten every thing that is truely great and good in human life, with fatal and remediless destruction.
I need hardly say, that every Attempt to illustrate our common Religion and to exhibit before men a faithful representation of its divine truth and excellence, is entitled to candour. I shall esteem all my time and labour abundantly recompensed, if this
work will prove, in any refpect, useful to the rising generation, and, particularly, to young perfons designed for the ministry. The principal happiness of my life is the investigation
of truth, and the acquisition of useful know· ledge. I have no other ambition, but to
adorn that station which God hath assigned me, and to do all the good in it, to the cause of Religion, Liberty, and Literature, that his Providence shall enable me to do. Blessed with religious parents, who gave me a liberal education, happy in early life in the instruction of a* Clergyman of distinguished learning and the most amiable character, formed with a strong passion for truth and a fervent thirst after knowledge, I hope I have in some measure improved the advantages with which the goodness of my Creator has favoured me. It fills me with regret and shame that I have improved them no better.
Tho' upon every subject I speak my own private sentiments with liberal and ingenuous freedom, yet I have charity for all, think every good person as sincere in his Religious opinions as I am in mine, deen no one a worse
1 * The Rev, Mr. Thomas Hunter, vicar of Weverham in Cheshire,
Chriítian merely because he differs from 12e in a few speculative points, am disposed to make all generous allowances for the errors and imperfections of frail humanity, and cherish a sincere affection for all iny jellowChristians of all parties and denominations, · I take this opportunity of making my grateful acknowledgements to my friends for allowing me free access to their libraries, and generously supplying me wish any entient of modern books I wanted to consult.
After I had finished my Translation of the New Testament, some of my learned 'friends. judged that such a work as the pre
sent, might be very proper to introduce it : to the world. In pursuance of this repeat
ed folicitation and advice, I digested into a - regular series the observations. I had made
in the course of my studies, and intreat the reader's favourable and candid acceptance of thein. .. . .
I am under the greatest obligations to 'my learned and worthy friend Dr. Lardner, ' not only for inany kind instances of his per
ronal friendship, but for the knowledge and improvement I have derived froin his moft useful writings. I am thankful to God for raising up a person of such distinguished ery: dition and worth to plead the cause of
· ChrifChristianity, and for continuing so valuable a life to such an advanced period. I suftained a great loss by the death of my learned friend the late Rev. Mr. * Alexander of Birmingham, who promised to revise my liberal Translation of the New Testament, and this present publication --- both which would have received signal advantage from his uncommon learning, excellent judgment, and critical fagacity. The death of my father in law, the eminently learned and celebrated Dr. Chandler, who reviewed part of my Version of the sacred writers, and into whose hands I intended to have put these Preliminary Observations, hath deprived them of the most considerable part of their intended merit. I design another Volume which will consist of critical observations, explanatory remarks, parallel passages from Greek and Roman authors, accounts of customs and usages mentioned or alluded to in the New Testament, and a lift of the inoft eminent authors, with the best edi. . tions of their works, who have illustrated the sacred Classics. I have only to add, that as I have a great deal of ministerial
* Author of an excellent and learned Paraphrafe on the Fifteenth of Corinthians, deservedly recoinmended in both the Monthly and Critical Revietos,