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divinity classes, had been long since complied with, but for the addition of certain arduous Academic duties to the ordinary engagements of the Author's Collegiate situation. To those, who are so well acquainted with the laborious employment, which those duties and engagements necessarily impose, no apology can be requisite on the ground of delay. More than twelve months have elapsed, since the greater part of these sheets were committed to the press: and the prosecution of the subject, has been unavoidably suspended during a considerable portion of the intervening period.
The form, in which the work is now presented, seems more to require explanation. The first design extended only, to the publication of the two discourses, with a few occasional and supplementary remarks: and on this plan, the sermons were sent to press. But on farther consideration, it appeared adviseable to enter into a more accurate, and extensive, examination of the subject: even though a short text should thereby be contrasted with a disproportionate body of Notes. The great vice of the present day, is a presumptuous precipitancy of judgment: and there is nothing, from which the cause of Christianity, as well as of general knowledge, has suffered more severely, than from that impatience of investigation, and that confidence of decision upon hasty and partial views, which mark the literary character of an age, undeservedly extolled for its improvements in reasoning and philosophy. A false taste in morals, is naturally connected with a false taste in literature: and the period of vicious dissipation, is not likely to prove the era of dispassionate, and careful, enquiry. There is, however, no short way to truth. The nature of things will not accommodate itself, to the laziness, the interests, or the vices of men. The paths, which lead to knowledge, are unalterably fixed; and can be traced, only by slow and cautious steps.
From these considerations, it was judged expedient to reduce the subject of these discourses, and the crude and superficial reasonings which have of late been exercised upon it, to a stricter and more minute test of enquiry. For this purpose, the present plan has been adopted as the best suited to that exactness of critical investigation which is due to the importance of the subject: and as the most fitly calculated, to direct the thoughts of the student, to the most useful topics of enquiry, and the most profitable sources of information. Such a plan, I have little doubt, will be favourably received by those, whose minds, trained in the habits of close deduction, and exercised in the researches of accurate science, cannot but be readily disposed to accept, in the place of general assertion and plausible declamation, a careful review of facts, and a cautious examination of scripture.
One circumstance, which is of no mean value in the method here pursued, is, that it enables us, without interrupting the thread of enquiry, to canvass and appreciate the pretensions of certain modern writers, whose high tone of self-admiration, and loud vauntings of superior knowledge, have been but too successful in obtaining for them a partial, and temporary, ascendancy in public opinion; and who have employed the influence derived from that ascendancy, to weaken the truths of Christianity, and to sap the dearest interests of man. I trust, that you, my young readers, will see enough in the Illustrations and Explanatory Dissertations accompanying these Discourses, to convince you of the emptiness of their claims to that superiority, which, did they possess it, would be applied to purposes so injurious. You will, probably, see sufficient reason to pronounce, that thcir pretensions to philosophic distinction, and their claims to critical pre-eminence, stand on no better grounds, than their assumption of the exclusive profession of a pure Christianity. The confident and overbearing language of such men, you will then regard as you ought: and from the review of their reasonings, and the detail of their religious opinions, you will naturally be led to feel the full value of the duly regulated discipline of the youthful understanding, in those severer exercises of scientific study, which give vigour to the intellect, and steadiness to the judgment; and the still greater value, of that early reverence for the mysterious sublimities of religion, which teaches the humility becoming man's highest powers, when directed to the yet higher things of God.—The half learning of modern times, has been the fruitful parent, of multiplied evils: and it is not without good cause, that the innovating theorist of the present day, makes it his first object to abridge the work of education, and under the pretence of introducing a system of more immediate practical utility, to exclude that wholesome discipline, and regular institution, which are essential to conduct the faculties of the young mind, to sound and manly strength.
I cannot conclude this prefatory address, without indulging in the gratifying reflection, that, whilst the deceptions of wit
and the fascinations of eloquence, combined with a wily sophistry and an imposing confidence, have but too frequently produced their pernicious effects, to the detriment of a true Christian faith, on the minds of the inexperienced, and unreflecting; these audacious attempts have seldom found, in this place, any other reception, than that of contempt and aversion. And with true pleasure I feel myself justified in pronouncing with confidence, that, so long as the Študents of this Seminary, intended for the office of the ministry, continue to evince the same serious attention to religious subjects, which has of late years so honourably distinguished numbers of your body, and so profitably rewarded the zealous labours of your instructers in sacred literature, Christianity will have little to fear in this land from such attempts.
That you may gloriously persevere, in these laudable efforts to attain the most useful of all learning, and in the conscientious endeavour to qualify yourselves for the due discharge of the most momentous of all duties : that so the work of God may not suffer in your hands; but that being judged fit dispensers of that wisdom which is from above, you may hereafter be enabled to turn many to righteousness, and finally to obtain the recompense of the good and faithful serdants of Christ, is the ardent wish and prayer, of your very sincere friend,
THE AUTHOR. APRIL 22, 1801.
ADVERTISEMENT TO THE SECOND EDITION.
It is now nearly seven years since application was made to the Author, by his Bookseller, for a new Edition of the Discourses on the Scriptural Doctrines of Atonement and Sacrifice. It being his intention to introduce into the work, considerable alterations in point of form, and considerable additions in point of matter; he deferred complying with the Bookseller's desire, until he should be able to accomplish this intention. The same preventive causes, to which in the prefatory address to the Students, he had occasion formerly to advert, again operated to produce delay; and have occasioned this late appearance of the promised publication. The work which now issues from the press, was, he is almost ashamed to avow, committed to it in the June of 1807—It is only to those, however, who are unacquainted with the nature of the Author's Academic occupations, that he feels any explanation to be necessary upon this head. He takes this occasion also to apologize, on the same ground, for the non-appearance of certain other works, for which he stands engaged to the public; and which, although for some years nearly completed, he has not had time to carry through the press.
Sert. 21, 1809.
ADVERTISEMENT TO THE THIRD EDITION.
In the Edition now given to the public, additional matter, which, it is hoped, may bestow some additional value, has been introduced; and a few changes (conceived to be improvements) in form and arrangement, have been adopted. The principal additions will be found in Numbers VII. VIII. XII. XIV. XVII. XXVII. XXX. XLI. XLII. LIII. LXV. LXIX. and its Postscript; and in the last forty pages of the Appendix. The Index of Matters, and List of Books, are