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qualities, and more ftill as I have the happinefs to live under Your peculiar jurifdiction: and Your GRACE is very kind in permitting me to infcribe it to Your Name, which kindness I will not abuse by the usual stile of dedications, Your GRACE's virtues are fo well known, and fo univerfally esteemed, as to ftand in need of no commendation, and much lefs of mine,

I would rather beg leave to apprife Your GRACE, and the reader, of the defign of these differtations: which is not to treat of the prophecies in general, nor even of those prophecies in particular, which were fulfilled in the perfon and actions of our Saviour; but only of fuch as relate more immediately to thefe later ages, and are in fome meafure receiving their accomplishment at this time. What firft fuggefted the defign, were fome converfations, formerly with a great General*, who had for many years the chief commands in the army, and was a man of

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good understanding, and of fome reading, but unhappily had no great regard for revealed religion or the clergy. When the prophecies were urged as a proof of revelation, he constantly derided the notion, afferted that there was no fuch thing, and that the prophecies which were pretended were written after the events. It was immediately replied, that tho' fuch a thing might with less fcruple and more confidence be affirmed of fome prophecies fulfilled long ago, yet it could never be proved of any, the contrary might be proved almost to a demonftration: but it could not be fo much as affirmed of several prophecies without manifeft abfurdity; for there were feveral prophecies in fcripture, which were not fulfilled till thefe later ages, and were fulfilling even now, and confequently could not be framed after the events, but undeniably were written and published many ages before. He was ftartled at this, and said he muft acknowledge, that if this point could be proved to fatisfaction, there would be no A 3 arguing

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arguing against fuch plain matter of fact; it would certainly convince him, and he believed would be the readieft way to convince every reasonable man, of the truth of revelation.

It was this occafion, my LORD, that firft gave rife to these Differtations, which were originally drawn up in the form of fome fermons. But fince that time, they have been new-modelled, much altered and much inlarged, and confirmed by proper authorities. And tho' fome of them only are here published, yet each differtation may be confidered as a diftinct treatise by itself. It is hoped indeed, that the whole, like an arch, will add strength and firmness to each part; but at the fame time care hath been taken, that the parts fhould have ftrength in themselves, as well as a relation to the whole, and a connection with each other. The publication therefore of fome parts cannot be improper; and the others hall go to the prefs as foon as an indifferent share of health, conftant preaching twice a day,

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and other neceffary duties and avocations will permit me to put the finishing hand to them.

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Every reader must know, Your GRACE and every scholar must know more especially, that fuch works are not to be precipitated. They require time and learned leisure, great reading and great exactnefs, both difquifitions of some of the moft curious points of history, as well as explications of fome of the moft difficult paffages of scripture. And I fhould not prefume to offer any of them to Your GRACE, or to fubmit them to the public cenfure, if they had not been firft perufed and corrected by fome of my friends, and particularly by three of the beft fcholars, and ableft critics of this age, Bishop Pearce, Dr. Warburton, and Dr. Jortin; who were alfo my friendly coadjutors in my edition of Milton; and as they excel in all good learning themselves, fo they are very ready to promote and affift the well-meant endevors of others.

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When the other parts fhall appear, they fhall likewife beg Your GRACE's patronage and protection. And in the mean time may Your GRACE'S health be re-established and continue many years for the good of this church and `nation! It is nothing to fay that it is my earnest wifh It is the wifh of all mankind: but of none more ardently than,

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