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BY JAMES DAVIES.
“ There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio,
PUBLISHED BY R. B. SEELEY AND W. BURNSIDE:
AND SOLD BY L. AND J. SEELEY,
Ie a sincere desire to preserve or rescue our fellowcreatures from fatal error, may be pleaded as an apology for writing and publishing a book, I am not destitute of apology, were any such necessary, for composing, and placing before the public, the following pages. I have endeavoured, throughout, to avoid prolixity. But the man who should contribute a single plank, or spar, to a life-boat, might be allowed to flatter himself, with having performed a humane and commendable action.
It is confidently asserted, that there are not less than half a million of persons in this country, who have renounced all religious belief. Individuals of this description have, in several instances, of late, made themselves conspicuous; and obtained an unenviable publicity. I have often found myself in company with persons, who either denied, or discovered an inclination to deny, the existence of God. And such is the subtlety and sophistry of these persons—their craft in proposing objections, and their adroitness in urging them, that I have, now and then, felt it difficult to furnish a prompt refutation. .
I wished to obtain some small treatise, on the simple fact of the Divine Existence, concise and comprehensive, argumentative and yet plain, that I could put into
the hand of an atheistical antagonist, to silence, if not to convince him; but every effort to procure one, proved unsuccessful. Indeed, it occurred to me, that this was a subject of theology, which-although fundamental of all others-had been much neglected of late years; and, that there existed a deficiency amongst the numerous treatises on this subject, yet to be supplied. I have therefore, attempted, in twelve, short, consecutive chapters, to supply this deficiency. How far I have succeeded, must be left to the judgment of the reader.
I am aware, that the present time is not the most auspicious that might have been selected, for publishing what I have written; but, if I have executed my task with talents and learning unequal to others, who have recently pursued the same tracks of thought with myself, and have placed their observations, in splendid volumes, before the world, it should be borne in mind, that I have written with a different view, and for a different class of readers.
It is probable that a severely critical eye may discover manifold defects in what I have executed,-defects in the method, in the titles of the chapters, and the order in which they are arranged, in the construction of the arguments and the selection of the language : but, to any and every critic, who may condescend to read the following pages-be he friend or foe-and will point out to me, “ a more excellent way,” in any of these respects, I promise-in the event of a second edition-to adopt his suggestions.
I commit this small volume to the benediction of Him, whom I have truly desired to serve, in preparing it; and to the serious consideration of the persons, for whose highest benefit it is intended.