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AN ESSAY

ON THE

PHILOSOPHY

OF

CHRISTIANITY.

VOLUME I.

CONTAINING

PART I-PRELIMINARY DISQUISITIONS.

1.-On Power and Cause.

2.-On Human Preference and Inclination.

BY CALEB PITT, C. E. L.

Prove all things---hold fast that which is good. 1 Thess. v. 21.

LONDON:

WILLIAM BOOTH, 32, DUKE STREET,
Manchester Square;

SOLD BY DUNCAN, PATERNOSTER ROW; SIMPKIN AND CO.
STATIONER'S COURT, LONDON; TIMS AND W. CURREY,
JUN. AND CO. DUBLIN; KING AND CO. CORK;
ROBERTSON AND CO. EDINBURGH; AND
OGLE AND CO. GLASGOW.

1824.

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INTRODUCTION.

GOD, who at various times and in divers man

ners spake to the world by patriarchs, prophets, evangelifts and apostles, hath also, by a special providence, conveyed down to us the holy fcriptures, the writings penned under divine inspiration and fuperintendency. The hand of God feems equally evident in preserving copies of them through the various declenfions and perfecutions of the church: and in preferving them from fophiftical alterations, to which preservation the order of scribes, under the Mofaic difpenfation, and the difputes among Chriftians under the prefent, feem to have eminently concurred.

Every man favored with these revelations, I apprehend, has an unquestionable right to endeavour an investigation as he may have opportunity. The process used for such discoveries may be called philofophizing, fo, the nature, operation, and influence of these revelations generally ⚫onceived

a 3

conceived, and as a branch of knowledge, I call the Phiofophy of Chriflianity.

Prejudices of education and of fuperftition, occafion fome to be difgufted at whatsoever is called philofophy; and to ftart at the thought of treating Christianity philosophically. If the difguft of fuch fhould prevent their reading this Effay, I can have no direct concern with them. The holy fcriptures address mankind as rational beings, and my wifh is, with divine concurrence, to lend a hand to the fincere fearcher of religious truth. Undoubtedly paffion and imagination, as well as understanding, are in their exercise effential to actual and vital godlinefs; but experienced Chriftians will affign understanding and a found theory to take the lead in precedence, fince the warmth of affection, and the foarings of fancy cannot be valuable and permanent unless truth is their fupport. I conceive it demonftrable from the effential perfections of God, that fcience truly fo called, and found philofophy of every fpecies, do, in the nature of things, perfectly harmonize with all the revelations of God: and am fo far from contemning science and rational philosophy, that I am inclined to think, evidence and affent refpecting that harmony will progreffionally increase with the duration of the world, until the knowledge of Chrift the glory of the Lord, shall fill the earth, as the waters the place of the feas.

Philofophy

Philofophy may, confiftently with the defign of this Essay, be distinguished as its objects are either the works of God, or the revelations of God. This feems the process of human philofophizing, and equally applicable to the philofophy of the universe, and philofophy of Christianity. First, We endeavour from a felection of appearances and experimental discoveries, to trace out fome of the rules or laws of the operation and influence of things: then we endeavour by these to discover fome of the properties and needful circumftances of the objects thus concuring to efficiency next we endeavour to difcover what are the determinate effentials of the objects concerned and laftly, we apply our knowledge thus attained to the folution of other difficulties. By this employment we come at a number of established points: but reflecting, that all the works of God, and all the revelations of God, must be analagous and harmonious, we are prompted to push forwards towards fyftematic knowledge on thefe fubjects.

Now arifeth hypothefis, or a system founded on fuppofition. That hypothefis, which in our judgment, whilft it confifts with all the appearances and experiments made in the universe, is evidently confiftent with itfelf and all other species of evident knowledge, should be esteemed, till we find a better, a good fyftem of philofophy of the works of God. Again, That hypothesis,

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