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"For we can do nothing against the truth, but for the truth."--PAUL.
H. HETHERINGTON, PRINTER, 13, KINGSGATE STREET.
From a survey of the contents of the present volume, it will be seen that we have completed our examination of the popular but anti-christian doctrines of the fall of man, and of the existence of an immortal, immaterial soul, which would render unnecessary a resurrection from the dead. The erroneous and unscriptural tenets of Quakerism have been further examined; and the claims and character of that canting party, whose chief end and aim are the applause of this world, have been more fully exposed. On the subject of social prayer we have completed our examination of the Old Testament; but with the remainder of that inquiry we have been obliged to content ourselves with an abstract only. We quit this subject, thus imperfectly concluded, with the greater reluctance, from a sense of its high importance to the right understanding of the religion of Jesus. Not the least important articles in the volume, are those headed “Dissenters' Marriages.” The Unitarian body, we have, at length, succeeded in exciting to serious exertions on this subject; their efforts have hitherto been counteracted chiefly by the interested opposition of the established priesthood; but for them, and for ourselves, we cannot but anticipate ultimate success.
With the second volume, now completed, our labours cease-at least for the present. Our objects in writing have already been explained to our readers--to lay before them views of religious truth, the result of laborious' and, we may add, of conscientious and honest inquiry on our own part: inquiry pursued from a love of truth only, and in no way instigated by that which (in consequence of the prevalence of priestcraft) is generally connected with theological discussion—the love of gain!
A labour which we have undertaken voluntarily, we feel ourselves at full liberty to discontinue at pleasure. The sale of our work, although not sufficient to make it profitable to ourselves, has been considerably greater than could have been anticipated ;--and that sale promised to increase. Bút 'much which we had proposed to do has been done in the two volumes now before the Public; whilst other occupations not less incumbent upon us, and other duties not less important, compel us to decline a continuance of the present publication. We have done something, if we have only shewn what can be done by a few inquiring minds, unaided by learning and the usual helps of literary composition-writing neither for fame "nor profit, but, who having thought freely and for themselves, give to the world, in a plain and unvarnished manner, the fruits of their inquiry, To those, if such there be, who think that we ought not to have dis; continued our labours, we can only say—that we leave them our · example, which they may follow at pleasure, and themselves supply the vacancy which we have left. Others, freeing themselves from the trammels of superstition and priestcraft, may think freely and communicate their thoughts as we have done. From our own experience we can assure such that the possession of truth is well worth the labour which it costs to acquire; and that, however little estimated by the world at large, the pursuit will bring with it its own reward. . ! All pecuniary profit, in this or any other religious undertaking, we have already distinctly disclaimed; neither have we been induced by the mere pleasure of speculative inquiry to add to the list of theo logical publications. All that we have written has been directed to the great end of mental enlightenment and moral improvement; and, convinced that nothing can so effectually conduce thereto as clear views and just conceptions of the religion of Jesus, it has been our endeavour to clear that divine system from the corruptions by which it has been defaced, and the errors to which it has been allied.. Our ability, if the reader shall be of opinion we have manifested wbility to this task, are all ascribable to the glorious, hopes and engobling truths of revealed religion, receiving their efficacy and direction from that system of Unity, Equality, and Discipline given by Jesus and his apostles for the government of the church of God, We take this opportunity of adding,' that with all parties seriously desirous of further information regarding our principles and union, swe shall be happy to communicate, and their inquiries to this and máy be addressed to the Elder of the Church denominated Freethinking Christians," and forwarded to the office of the Printer of this Work, No. 13, Kingsgate Street, Holborn.
THE DOCTRINE OF THE FALL OF MAN
DISPROVED, By an Explanation of the early part of the Book of Genesis.
REFERRING to the introductory Essay under the above
1 title, (vol. i. p. 136) it will be seen that that portion of the early chapters of Genesis has been explained, which describes the creation of man-his being placed in a garden for the purpose of security-his receiving oral instruction from Deity for the improvement of his understanding; and, with a view at once to the comfort of the individual, and the peopling of the earth, his being provided with a partner of his own species.
Of the history of our first parents, we hear no more till what is called the temptation of Eve; which, from the brevity of the history, would appear to have taken place immediately; but it is highly probable that some time had elapsed, in which nothing necessary for instruction, or worth recording, had occurred: but, as every event had been so arranged as to promote their moral instruction, and to prepare them for a more enlarged sphere of action, this temptation is allowed, with the same view, to take place. In the third
VOL. II. NO. V.