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PROVING THAT THE CHRISTIAN CHURCH WAS
AT FIRST UNITARIAN,
By JOSEPH PRIESTLEY, LL. D. F.R.S.
AC, IMP. PETROP. R. PARIS. HOLM. TAURIN. AUREL. MED,
PARIS, CANTAB. AMERIC. ET PHILAD. SOCIUS.
Antiquam exquirite matrem.
OUR known zeal for the cause in Y
the defence of which this work is composed is my motive for prefixing your name to it. It is a great and important question that is now in agitation, and it is but justice that posterity should, if possible, be made acquainted with the names of those zealous advocates of truth, whose
exertions, though not in the character of writers, have yet, in various other ways, contributed to its successful fpread.
In this honourable class I know of few that are intitled to stand before that of Mrs. Rayner.
Such is our social nature, that those who are actuated by the purest love of truth, and whose views are the most fingle, feel, and therefore, in fome degree, want the additional motive which arises from the concurrence of others, in a cause in which the world in general is against them. But a very few, united in a love of truth, of the importance of which they are deeply sensible, will easily bear up against any combination. Numbers, power, wealth, long establishment, fashion, interest, and every other advantage on the
side of error, inspire no fear or distrust, but rather give courage to the small band that fight under the banners of truth and right. The contest itself is glorious, and their confidence of final success makes them easy, and even joyful, under all opposition.
Believing, as I am persuaded that you, Madam, as well as myself, do, that a wise Providence super-intends all events, guiding the thoughts and pursuits of every individual to the most proper object, and in the most proper time, we rejoice in seeing every question of great moment, and especially those relating to theology, become the subject of interesting discuffion , well knowing that it is a prelude to the enlargement of the minds of men, the detection of error, and the propaga