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النشر الإلكتروني

S.H.1825

THE SEMI-SCEPTIC

OR THE

COMMON SENSE OF

RELIGION CONSIDERED

BY REV J T JAMES MA

PRINTED FOR HATCHARD AND SON

LONDON 1825

575

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IBOTSON AND PALMER, PRINTERS, SAVOY STREET, SI RAND.

PREFACE.

Though it may safely be said, that there exists little of positive infidelity in this country, yet there are many persons, particularly among the professional classes of life, who are in the habit of regarding religion with much indifference, and perhaps disdain. And, as this habit is not the result of carelessness or inattention, but is considered to be founded upon what are called rational principles, it cannot be unwise to scrutinise those principles; or to offer assistance to such as may not have leisure enough to examine the subject for themselves with that attention which it requires.

In this work are given the ideas which have proved satisfactory to my own mind—if they

should become equally so to others, the end of this publication will have been fully answered. It has been my endeavour to take up the question precisely on those grounds, where the researches of modern speculators have rested it; and I have aimed throughout at treating it with that plain dealing sobriety which the habits of the man of business and the man of sense require.

There are those, I well know, to whom some apology is due for writing at all upon such a subject, and for touching upon ideas which, it were to be wished had never been entertained by the world. Too pure in themselves to be alive to suspicion against others; too well strengthened by their own learning to believe the possibility of failure on the part of others ; they indulge a happy credulity, that brings an echo in consonance to their wishes rather than in confirmation of them. For such 'reasons, however, to remain inactive upon our post, is but to deceive ourselves; it is to let ' suspicion sleep at wisdom's gate, while the evil one steals in unheeded; it is to maintain a silence that will be attributed by the world to any cause rather than that from whence it really proceeded. Neither shall we find, that circumstances around us will justify us in so doing. There is a restless spirit of inquiry abroad, an unceasing curiosity that pervades all the busy walks of life : no science, no art, no branch of study of any description whatever, is free from its searching powers; none are there from which it will be restrained by any sense of delicacy or respect. How then can we expect that to be held secret which regards alike the common interest of us all ? and how can we say, that ought to be concealed, which must shine with the brightest and clearest light, when most nearly and most accurately examined ?

Be the discussion wise or unwise, be it right or wrong, I can only assert, that whether such subjects shall be agitated or not, is not a point that is left to our decision : investigations of this sort have again and again been published to the world, and are constantly and ostentatiously put forward, even now before our face;

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