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mental in benefiting, are not mankind in general, but the members of the church of the living God. It will present to dear Christian friends in immediate communion with himself, a connected view of doctrines which at different periods they have heard from his lips ; and it will, perchance, stimulate some humble disciples of the Lord of Glory, whom he has never seen, and whom he may never see in the flesh, to an increased and edifying examination of the sacred volume. If, besides, coming into the hands of some who, although at present ignorant of the gospel, are among the destined heirs of salvation, it shall in any way contribute towards their reception of Christ and him crucified, a purpose will be answered over and above that directly aimed at. Even although the work itself should be speedily forgotten, may not its grand characteristic principles occupy the attention of a few individuals long enough to take possession of their minds ?—from them, may they not spread to others?—and thus, silently and imperceptibly, but certainly, may not his work become one means of leading onward to the superior advancement in religion of a future age? How delightful to think, that nothing, no, not even the minutest event, takes place in vain. If upon the fall of an apple, depended Newton's splendid discovery of the theory of gravitation, is it too much to
suppose, that upon the publication of the unnoticed work of an obscure author, may depend the most splendid discoveries in divine truth?
As expressive of the views and feelings with which the author sends forth these volumes to the world, he has no hesitation in adopting the language of Robert Sandeman, in the appendix to his celebrated Letters on Hervey's Dialogues. “If amidst the throng of daily publications, my book serve as a little transitory fuel to the fire of that contention which the Saviour came to revive upon the earth, and which will continue burning till he come again, my purpose in writing is sufficiently honoured.”
It is the perfect conviction which the author has, of the truth of the main principles upon which the system developed in these pages is based, that renders him careless about the immediate result. Truth can afford to wait. However long delayed the period of its triumphs, in due season that period will arrive. Opposition may seem to impede, but not all the opposition of earth and hell can in reality arrest its progress. Its march in every age has been slow and stately, but it has been sure. Admirably observes the philosophical historian, in reference to this matter, veritas visu et mora, falsa festinatione et incertis valescunt.* The sys
* Tacit. Annal. 1. 2. c. 39.
tem of the author not being false, he has no occasion to push it; nor to throw dust in the eyes of the public, with a view to promote its immediate success : it is enough for him if, ages after he and his work shall have been forgotten, the system itself, after having been subjected to every conceivable species of opposition, and tested in every conceivable
shall be found silently making progress, and surmounting every difficulty, in virtue of its own inherent evidences of divine origin.
In thus appealing to “ Prince Posterity,” the author is perfectly aware of the ridicule which, in the estimation of many, he must incur. To him, however, the · charge which “the witty Dean”* attempts to fasten on those who are not content with the judgment of their contemporaries, does not apply. For, be it observed, it is not about his book, but about the system which his book develops, that the author is any way solicitous. The book itself may, and probably soon will perish; but the system itself, he rejoices to think, is immortal. Besides, the posterity to which he appeals, is not mankind in general, a body whose pretensions to judge in a case of this kind, whether now or afterwards, he utterly rejects and disclaims,—but the members of the church of Christ : a body which, although at present exhibit• Swift. See the Epistle Dedicatory prefixed to his Tale of a Tub.
ing much of that dullness and inaptitude to comprehend divine things, which characterized its members during the period of Christ's personal ministry, is nevertheless evidently about to commence a career of progression ; and which will, he has no doubt, in some future age, shine forth with a lustre, of which it is now entirely destitute.
The style of the work has of course occupied the author's attention ; but it has been with him a matter of subordinate concern. His grand object has been, to express himself throughout plaiuly and perspicuously. He has not attempted what are commonly called the graces of composition, partly from a consciousness of wanting the qualifications requisite to succeed in the attempt, and partly from a conviction that the subject does not admit of them. He will be found to have indulged to a certain degree in repetition. This he has done advisedly. He knows well that repetition is generally sadly annoying; but he is convinced that, notwithstanding, it is extremely useful : having discovered from experience, that truths heard by him for the second, tenth, twentieth time, have in many cases taken a hold upon his mind, which, if heard by him only once, they never could have done ; and being satisfied, that much of the superficial knowledge in every department of
science prevalent at the present day, is traceable to the false ideas, of the possibility of truth being apprehended at a glance, and of the grand secret of the mind's making progress being the constant occupation of it with variety. It is astonishing, that the manner in which the scriptures themselves are composed, nay, that the manner in which all our habits are acquired, should not have corrected such notions. Is not incessant repetition, with a certain degree of variety, characteristic of the former?-is it not by incessant repetition, combined with occasional variety, that we acquire the latter ? Taught by these facts, as well as by his own experience, the author has allowed himself to indulge in a good deal of amplification. He is satisfied, that although in works of imagination it may be advisable to render the descriptions as short and sketchy as possible, and to leave the mind of the reader to exert itself in filling up the outline, a very different rule falls to be observed in works on the subject of theology. The statements, definitions, distinctions, and illustrations, can scarcely be too minute or ample. Nothing should be left to the imagination. A single outline which requires to be filled up by the mind of the reader, is one opening too much for the entrance of error and delusion. The author is well aware, that limits must be imposed on