Title PageA SERIES OF LETTERS, IN DEFENCE OF DIVINE REVELATION; IN REPLY TO REV. ABNER KNEELAND'S SERIOUS INQUIRY INTO THE AUTHENTICITY OF THE SAME.
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BY HOSEA BALLOU, Pastor of the Second Universalist Society in Boston.
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TO WHICH IS ADDED, A RELIGIOUS CORRESPONDENCE, BETWEEN THE REV. HOSEA BALLOU, AND THE REV. DR. JOSEPH BUCKMINSTER AND REV. JOSEPH WALTON, PASTORS OF CONGREGATIONAL CHURCHES IN PORTSMOUTH, N. H.
District of Massachusetts, to wit: District Clerk's Office.
Be it remembered, that on the twenty-fifth day of July, A. D.1820, in the forty-fifth year of the Independence of the United States of America, HENRY BOWEN, of the said district, has deposited in this office, the title of a book, the right whereof he claims as Proprietor in the words following, to wit:
"A Series of Letters, in defence of Divine Revelation; in reply to Rev. Abner Kneeland's Serious Inquiry into the authenticity of the same. By HOSEA BALLOU, Pastor of the Second Universalist Society in Boston. To which is added, a Religious Correspondence, between the Rev. Hosea Ballou, and the Rev. Dr. Joseph Buckminster, and Rev. Joseph Walton, Pastors of Congregational Churches in Portsmouth, N. H."
In conformity to the Act of the Congress of the United States, entitled, "An Act for the Encouragement of Learning, by securing the Copies of Maps, Charts and Books, to the Authors and Proprietors of such Copies, during the times therein mentioned:" and also to an Act entitled, "An Act supplementary to an Act, entitled, an Act for the Encouragement of Learning, by securing the Copies of Maps, Charts and Books, to the Authors and Proprietors of such Copies during the times therein mentioned; and extending the benefits thereof to the Arts of Designing, Engraving, and Etching Historical, and other Prints."
JOHN W. DAVIS, Clerk of the District of Massachusetts
TO THE READER.
Some few suggestions respecting the following Controversy are thought necessary in order to inform the reader how it was first introduced, the motives which led to it, and those which induced to its being published to the world.
We learn from the Rev. Mr. KNEELAND, that having at different times been exercised in his mind with serious doubts respecting the authenticity of the Scriptures, and the system of Divine Revelation, recorded in them, he was induced to solicit a correspondence with the Rev. Mr. BALLOU on the subject. That, in order to render the controversy the more interesting, by calling into action the energies of mind, and by directing the correspondence to definite purposes, he assumed the character of a real opponent, determining to maintain the opposition, in all its forms, until reduced, by necessity, to yield to successful arguments directed against it. It was with great reluctance that the advocate for the christian religion, in this controversy, consented to undertake a work of this nature; not, however, because he esteemed it unnecessary, or because he entertained any doubts with regard to the defensibility of revelation, but, as he contends, on account of the want of abilities and means to do the subject justice. His opponent, however, being a familiar acquaintance and friend, as well as a preacher in the same profession of faith with himself, having led him to believe that a labour of this kind was called for by the most sacred obligations of brother to brother, he was induced to render what assistance was in his power, without infringing too much on other important duties in which he was almost constantly engaged.
When the controversy closed, Mr. KNEELAND felt such an entire satisfaction in his own mind, that the objections which he had stated were fairly answered, and the validity of the Scriptures vindicated, that he was led to believe that to publish the correspondence would be of service to the cause of Christ. He therefore obtained leave of his correspondent, and carried the manuscripts to the westward, where he offered proposals for the work, and obtained a number of subscribers; but being called to remove to Philadelphia, he was under the necessity of postponing the publication for a season. The publisher having obtained some knowledge of this correspondence, and being informed by the Rev. Mr. KNEELAND that the arguments which it contains were, in his opinion, calculated to strengthen the believer, as well as confirm the doubting, he negotiated for the manuscripts and now presents the work to the public, entertaining a hope that it may serve the interest of christianity, and promote a respect and veneration for the sacred writings.
The letters which passed between Mr. BALLOU and two respectable clergymen in the town of Portsmouth, N. H. were some years since published in Vermont; but several circumstances rendered it proper that this work should be reprinted. Besides its being nearly or quite out of print, the first edition was on an inferior paper, the work badly executed, and a number of errors were discovered.
To those who believe in the universality of divine goodness, the publisher feels confident the following work will be received and read with no small satisfaction. And a hope is entertained that it may be the means of enlightening some, who though they possess the spirit of universal love and benevolence, have not the felicity of believing in the divine goodness to the extent of their own desires.
A SERIES OF LETTERS, &c.
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