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TO THE

HONOURABLE AND RIGHT REVEREND

JAMES YORK, D.D.

LORD BISHOP OF ELY.

MY LORD;

W HEN, five years ago, an important station in the University of Cambridge awaited your Lordship’s disposal, you were pleased to offer it to me. The circumstances, under which this offer was made, demand a publick acknowledgement. I had never seen your Lordship; I possessed no connexion which could possibly recommend me to your favour; I was known to you, only by my endeavours, in common with many others, to discharge my duty as a tutor in the University ; and by some very imperfect, but certainly well intended, and, as you thought, useful publications since. In an age by no means want : ing in examples of honourable patronage, although this deserve not to be mentioned in respect of the object of your Lordship's choice, it is inferiour to none, in the purity and disinterestedness of the motives which suggested it.

How the following work may be received, I pretend not to foretell. My first prayer concerning it is, that it may do good to any: my second hope, that it may assist, what it hath always been

my earnest wish to promote, the religious part of an academical education. If in this latter view it might seem, in any degree, to excuse your Lordship’s judgment of its author, I shall be gratified by the reflection, that, to a kindness flowing from publick principles, I have made the best publick return in my power.

In the mean time, and in every event, I rejoice in the opportunity here afforded me, of testifying the sense I entertain of your Lordship’s conduct, and of a notice which I regard as the most flattering distinction of my life.

I am,

My LORD,

With sentiments of gratitude and respect,

Your Lordship’s faithful,

And most obliged servant,

WILLIAM PALEY,

Page

CHAPTER VI.

That the story, for which the first propagators of Christianity

suffered, was miraculous : .. ..... .. 63

CHAPTER VII.

That it was in the main the story which we have now firoved

by indirect considerations . . . . . . . . . . 67

CHAPTER VIII.

The same proved from the authority of our Historical Scrip.

tures . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8%

CHAPTER IX.

Of the Authenticity of the Historical Scriptures, in Eleven

Sections . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 96

Section I. Quotations of the Historical Scriptures by an-

cient Christian writers . . . . . . . . . . 104

Section II. Of the peculiar respect with which they were

quoted . .... .......... . 129

SECTION III. The Scriptures were in very early times col-

lected into a distinct volume . . . . . . . . . 134

Section IV. And distinguished by appropriate names and

titles of respect . . . . . . . . . . . . . 138

SECTION V. Were publickly read and expounded in the re-

ligious assemblies of the early Christians ..... 140

Section VI. Commentaries, &c. were anciently written

upon the Scriptures . . . . . . . . . . . 143

Section VII. They were received by ancient Christians of

different sects and persuasions . . . . . . . . 149

· Section VIII. The four Gospels, the Acts of the Apostles,

thirteen Epistles of Saint Paul, the First Epistle of John,

and the First of Peter, were received without doubt by

those who doubted concerning the other books of our present

canon . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 156

Section IX. Our present Gospels were considered by the

adversaries of Christianity, as containing the accounts upon

which the religion was founded . . . . . . . . 161

Section X. Formal catalogues of authentick Scriptures

were published, in all which our present Gospels were includ-

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