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TO

JOHN THOMAS HOPE, ESQ.

THE FOLLOWING

DISCOURSE

IS INSCRIBED

WITH THE SINCEREST FRIENDSHIP AND REGARD.

PREFACE.

THE following Discourse, delivered upwards of six months since, was not originally intended for publication. It is committed to the press with the sanction of a learned friend, whose opinion the author considers of great value. It was thought that a brief statement of an important question might not be without advantage to others engaged in the same inquiries. The controversies that arose when the Divine Legation of Warburton was first published have long since died away, nor is it necessary to awaken them again, except as far as the chief subject of dispute is connected with the acquisition of religious truth itself. An examination into the belief of Jew or Gentile in the soul's immortality before the coming of our Saviour, can never cease to be an interesting question to the Christian philosopher. Nor

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will the investigation be without profit to him who pursues it candidly, as a source of moral improvement. He may learn to be thankful on the ground of revelation for the advantages which he enjoys over the most favoured Israelite in the superior blessings and prospects of the new, compared with the old dispensation; and on the ground of his natural faculties, he will be sensible of the benefits which reason itself has derived from the word of Scripture, as well in directing as in limiting its exercise. He has seen the day clearly which the inspired patriarchs of old, with the prophetic eye of faith, at a distance, rejoiced to see; and he has received that light of imparted knowledge from Heaven, which the wisest of the heathens felt necessary to clear up the doubts of the speculative mind, and would have hailed with gratitude and reverence.

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