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Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1S55, by DAVID N. LORD. In the Clerk's Office of the District Court of the United States for the Southern District of New York.
W. H. Tinson, Printer & Slereotyper.
How is it that, at a period when unusual efforts have been made for the religious instruction of the young and the general diffusion of sacred knowledge, a distrust of the inspiration of the Holy Scriptures and doubt of their authenticity has sprung up and gained a wide diffusion among the classes who have enjoyed, in a large degree, the means of an enlightened and religious education? Of the fact there is no room for doubt. It is so conspicuous as to attract the notice of observers in every direction, and excite surprise and alarm. It cannot be regarded as resulting from the exertions that are made by the avowedly infidel to propagate their sentiments; as their influence is chiefly expended on those of a different circle. It springs undoubtedly from doctrines that are taught them by persons of their own sphere, and that enter as elements into the system of popular education, and doctrines that, instead of being openly hostile to revelation, are masked under the form of facts or truths of natural science, metaphysics, or some other branch of knowledge that is not directly connected with religion. It were easy to verify this by a multitude of proofs, but it cannot be necessary. It is known to all familiar with the subject that speculations respecting the structure of the universe, the nature of the mind, the causes of perception, the laws of life, the principles of language, and other kindred subjects, are often made the medium of promulgating sceptical views; and that doctrines are advanced by physiologists, chemists, professors of the several branches of natural philosophy, and writers on the higher metaphysics, that contravene the teachings of revelation, and naturally lead those who adopt them to doubt its divine origin. This fact renders it peculiarly important that the false principle by which they thus become the instruments of undermining the authority of the Scriptures should be pointed out, and the means indicated by which they may be counteracted. It is to such a purpose that the present work is to be devoted.