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THE peculiar circumstances under which the following Lectures are presented to the public, require a more minute explanatory statement than is usually given in an Introductory Address. And as the inhabitants of Manchester and its vicinity, (to whom the Lectures were delivered, and among whom they were first published,) are more particularly interested, to them will these remarks be considered as principally addressed.
In the winter of 1811-1812, I delivered a Course of Lectures on the Evidences of the Truth of the Christian Religion to a society of young men belonging to the
congregation. The pleasure which they kindly expressed, and their anxious wish to attend to the doctrines of the Christian religion, after being satisfied of the divine mission of its Founder, induced me to promise, that if health and strength were spared, I would, in the ensuing winter, go through a course on the principal doctrines, either in private or public. An attempt was made to combine these two objects, by first delivering them in public, and afterwards discussing the arguments at a private meeting. The latter was however necessarily deferred to a future opportunity.
Having before delivered part of the following Lectures at Nottingham, to an audience consisting, in a great measure, of strangers, I imagined that it might be the case in Manchester, and therefore adopted the plan, which I had in part pursued before, of addressing them to Trinitarian worshippers.
It was impossible to have calculated previously upon the attention which would be excited to the subjects. Nor could it have been supposed, that, in four or five