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To His GRACE
DUKE of Devonshire,
Marquis of Hartington, Earl of Devonshire, Baron Cavendish of Hardwick, Lord Lieutenant and Cuftos Rotulorum of the County of Derby, one of His Majefty's moft Honourable Privy-Council, Lord High Steward of His Majesty's Houfhold, and Knight of the moft Noble Order of the Garter, &c.
May it please your GRACE,
INCE I have had the Honour of your Grace's moft liberal Subfcription to my following Defign, and likewise the Encouragement of your Grace's Patronage, I beg Leave to make my moft grateful Acknowledgments for the
fame; not doubting but your Grace's great Condefcenfion and kind Acceptance of a Performance intended for the general and spiritual Good of Mankind, in the Behalf of Religion and Virtue, will have the greater Force and Influence upon the Minds of the Readers, and incline them to a due Attention. For as the World cannot be ignorant of those illuftrious Virtues which flow from your Grace, and are derived to you from your most renowned Anceftors; fo I cannot but perfuade my self, that your Grace's Approbation of this well-meant Endeavour will render it more serviceable to the World, and make it better anfwer the End propos'd by,
Moft Obliged, and
HE following Difcourfes are defign'd to rectify the prevailing Errors in Faith and Practice, fo vifible amongst us, and fo dif-. graceful to our Holy Religion. How far I fhall fucceed in this Attempt, which I am fure is well defign'd, I must leave to the Grace of God acting upon the good Dif pofition' of the Readers. If any fhall charge me with erroneous Principles in any of the Hypothefes I have maintain'd, whether Divine or Philofophical, I defire they will be fo just as to produce their Reasons for doing jo; and I fhall either fubmit to them, if convincing, or elfe produce fome better Reafons, if I can, to fupport my own Principles, than they have done to destroy them.
I am entirely fatisfied (and hope I have produced fufficient Arguments to fatisfy all reafonable Men) in the Principles I have maintain'd
tain'd against the Doctrine of God's determi ning the Happiness or Mifery of his Creatures in a future State before their Creation, with out Respect to their Actions; and hope to Thew that my Philofophical Notions or Probabilities are alfo grounded upon Reason, and no ways clashing with, but confonant to the Holy Scriptures, and tending to difcover to us the confummate Wisdom of the infinitely powerful Contriver of the Univerfe, and GREAT AUTHOR of Nature.
For how manifeft are the Footsteps of infinite Wisdom and Forefight in fixing of Laws to all the glorious Heavenly Bodies, which they, of themfelves, cannot tranfgrefs; so that their various Phænomena are accountable, and their Motions deducible to certain Calculations, and thereby the feveral Configurations of the Planets of our System, and the Eclipfes of the Luminaries are foretold.
Which exact Order and Harmony has been obferv'd by all the inanimate Bodies of the Univerfe; amongst which there never was any Confufion or Alteration of the Laws first affign'd them by their Creator, except when the rational Inhabitants thereof have given Caufe to the Creator of them to put a Violence upon the Order of Nature. Thus upon the Difobedience of our first Parents, as Mr. Whiston fuppofes, the Earth receiv'd its diurnal Rotation: Thus likewife at the Deluge, (that great Violence