ristianity in a Series of Lectures Delivered in Broadway Hall, New York, August 1829. To Which is preffixed, an extract from Wyttenbach's Opuscula, on the Ancient Notics of the Jewish Nation Previous to the Time of Alexander the Great." Quoted from the author's "Preface."
"If thy mind is already made up, with a determination never to alter it, right or wrong, that the Bible is of divine origin, and comes to thee, claiming thy belief by divine authority, and that the christian doctrine is certainly true, so true, that it is impious to re-examine the evidences on which it is founded, then I would advise thee not to read this book; for notwithstanding all thy prepossessions and prejudices in favor of the Bible and christian doctrine, thy faith will be most assuredly shaken, if not wholly destroyed, on perusing this work. But if thou art still an enquirer after truth, and art ready to receive and be contented with whatever is true, more or less; if thou art satisfied that truth never loses any thing by investigation, but like the precious diamond, the more it is rubbed the brighter it will shine, then I sincerely entreat thee to lay aside thy prepossessions, and candidly examine the following pages.
Like many others, I once thought that a belief in future existence was absolutely necessary to present happiness. I have discovered my mistake. Time, a thousand years hence, is no more to me now, than time a thousand years past. As no event could have harmed me, when I existed not, so no event can possibly harm me when I am no more. By anticipating and calculating too much on future felicity, and dreading, or at least fearing, future misery, man often loses sight of present enjoyments, and neglects present duties. When men shall discover that nothing can be known beyond this life, and that there is no rational ground for any such belief, they will begin to think more of improving the condition of the human species. Their whole thoughts will then be turned upon what man has done, and what he can still do, for the benefit of man. As they will be delivered from all fear of invisible voluntary agents, that may do them harm, so they will no longer look up to such agents for help. But they will study more their own powers and the powers and properties of nature. They will discover how much time and labor is spent entirely uselessly, and worse than uselessly --- perniciously; that so far from improving the condition of man, such labors only tend to destroy his own peace; and render him an enemy to his fellow man".