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TO THE REVEREND MINISTERS,

FORMERLY PUPILS OF THE AUTHOR,

MANY OF WHOM NOW OCCUPY STATIONS OF EMINENCE

IN THE NONCONFORMIST CHURCHES,

FOR THE DIRECTION OF WHOSE STUDIES

THIS INQUIRY WAS ORIGINALLY INSTITUTED,

AND

TO THE YOUTH OF THE CONGREGATIONS

FIRST OF HACKNEY, AND AFTERWARDS OF ESSEX STREET,

FOR WHOSE INSTRUCTION

THE SUBJECT WAS DISCUSSED IN A MORE FAMILIAR FORM,

THIS TREATISE

IS RESPECTFULLY INSCRIBED

BY THEIR FAITHFUL

AND AFFECTIONATE SERVANT,

THE AUTHOR.

PREFACE

To those who interest themselves in the subject of this Inquiry, the order pursued in the following investigation may appear not altogether natural; and the Analytic method might perhaps be thought preferable to the Synthetic. And that method would unquestionably have been adopted, had the original design with which this Inquiry was instituted been to disprove the commonlyreceived doctrine concerning the deity of Jesus Christ.

But the truth is, that at the time when this Inquiry was begun the author was himself a firm believer in the pre-existence of Christ; and was fully persuaded that the spirit which animated the body of Christ was the eternal Logos asserted by Dr. Clarke; nor had he then altogether renounced the plausible hypothesis of Dr. T. Burnet and Dr. Doddridge, that the Son is God by the indwelling deity of the Father. He had been at that time, A. D. 1781, recently appointed to the Theological chair in Mr. Coward's Academy at Daventry, and Unitarianism being then “the great controversy of the age,” he was dissatisfied with the slight notice taken of this controversy

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in Dr. Doddridge's Lectures, which was the textbook of the Institution, and regarded it as an imperative professional duty to enter more fully into this important discussion, which had of late risen into increased celebrity, partly, by the controversial writings of Dr. Priestley, but chiefly, by the meritorious sacrifice which the venerable Theophilus Lindsey had made not many years before to the dictates of an enlightened conscience, and by the new and singular phænomenon of a flourishing congregation of Christians, avowedly Unitarian, having been formed under his auspices in Essex Street.

Now the plan, which to the author appeared most eligible for conducting the minds of his pupils in this Inquiry, was to form a collection of all the texts in the New Testament which in any way related to the person of Christ, and to ar- . range them under different heads, beginning with simple pre-existence, and advancing through the various intermediate steps to the doctrine of the proper deity of Christ. Under each text was introduced the comment of one or more learned and approved Trinitarian, Arian, or Unitarian expositors, in the commentator's own words, and in general without any additional, or at least doctrinal, comment of the compiler's own, as it was his wish to leave the texts thus expounded to make

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