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clear my path by using phrases easily understood, and avoiding questions too intricate, and subtleties too refined.
As I do not wish to anticipate any of my conclusions, I forbear to enter into a general view of the principles it is my object to support: For believing the subject to be connected in a chain of reasoning, however loosely in some parts, I have the less reluctance in requesting my reader to follow it, with what patience he may be able to exercise, to the end.
I do not flatter myself that the view I have taken is original; yet I think it, on the whole, important. Neither do I flatter myself, that the inferences I have drawn will be generally received; though I believe them to be founded in Truth. For, some of them seem to be opposed to great authorities; but I have satisfaction in thinking that they are not opposed to the greater authority of Scripture. In reference therefore to the authors with whom I differ-and I am not alone in differing from them—I can feelingly apply the often quoted saying,-Amicus Socrates, amicus Plato, sed magis amica Veritas.
Sect 1. General view of different writers opi-