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proper revelation. It is his reiterated urgency that the latter, in this very dispute, only follows up the former: that Christianity, as a remedial system, proceeds but on the assumption of an antecedent, independent, dilemma ; and that it is perfectly irresponsible for it. His mottoes are but indices to the idea.
He has written, in a few instances, according to his Denominational opinions. He trusts that this cannot be esteemed unjust and offensive, when it is remembered that this is a denominational foundation.
Should these Discourses be severely criticised, the Writer will not consider himself in anywise wronged. He has taken those points which he conscientiously regarded as chiefly important and relevant: but another mind may hold light what he feels to be difficult, and consider difficult what he thinks light. He well knows how different must be the mental surveys of the same question, and of the same question maintained with equal fidelity. It
may also be, that some opponents of the doctrine which he has attempted to vindicate shall resort to public animadversion. He does not arrogate such a notableness. But should censure of this kind
appear, he must be pardoned in saying, that he cannot imagine the circumstances which would bind him to reply. He has attacked no one: none can he have offended. Far from the tumults of controversy, he wishes to spend his few remaining days in the quiet blessedness of his pastoral duties.
In vain will any one look for descriptive, scenic, passages in this Work. Did he wield that
he should have forborne. He loves not, in such grave discussions, the fierce imaginative art. He would not borrow the terrible fictions and machines of Dante, Buonarotti, and Milton. Sinner as he is, his “soul has wept in secret places.”
But he shrinks not from the perfect affirmation of the dread conclusion which he has reached. He the more insists upon it, not only on account of the complete evidence of its particular truth, but for the sake of its essential relations to all moral truth. For those who differ from him, he can cherish respect and favor: he asks their candor and forbearance. Towards their theory, however, of this momentous issue, he knows no sparing terms or indulgent blandishments. Though many deem it rational, be deems it absurd,—though many feel it plausible, he feels it incongruous,—though many pronounce it benevolent, he pronounces it cruel. It can ill conceal its origin, notwithstanding its mockery of aspiration and its pretext of mercy.
Quæ quantum vertice ad auras
Virg. Georg. ii. lib. 291.
Leeds, March 22, 1847.
BY THE COMMITTEE OF THE CONGREGATIONAL LIBRARY.
THE “ CONGREGATIONAL LIBRARY was established with a view to the promotion of Ecclesiastical, Theological, and Biblical Literature, in that religious connexion with whose friends and supporters it originated. It is also designed to secure a convenient locality for such associations as had previously existed, or might hereafter exist, for the purpose of advancing the literary, civil, and religious interests of that section of the Christian Church to which it was appropriated. Without undervaluing the advantages of union, either with Evangelical Protestants, or Protestant Nonconformists, on such grounds as admit of liberal co-operation, it was nevertheless deemed expedient to adopt measures for facilitating the concentration and efficiency of their own denomination. In connexion with these important objects, it was thought desirable to institute a LECTURE, partaking rather of the character of Academic prelections than of popular addresses, and embracing a Series of Annual Courses of Lectures, to be delivered at the Library, or, if necessary, in some contiguous place of worship. In the selection of Lecturers, it was judged proper to appoint such as, by their literary attainments and ministerial reputation, had rendered service to the cause of Divine truth in the consecration of their talents to " the defence and confirmation of the Gospel.” It was also supposed, that some might be found possessing a high order of intellectual competency and moral worth, imbued with an ardent love of biblical science, or eminently conversant with theological and ecclesiastical literature, who, from various causes, might
never have attracted that degree of public attention to which they are entitled, and yet might be both qualified and disposed to undertake courses of lectures on subjects of interesting importance, not included within the ordinary range of pulpit instruction. To illustrate the evidence and importance of the great doctrines of Revelation ; to exhibit the true principles of philology in their application to such doctrines; to prove the accordance and identity of genuine philosophy with the records and discoveries of Scripture; and to trace the errors and corruptions which have existed in the Christian Church to their proper sources, and by the connexion of sound reasoning with the honest interpretation of God's holy Word, to point out the methods of refutation and counteraction, are amongst the objects for which “ the Congregational Lecture" has been established. The arrangements made with the Lecturers are designed to secure the publication of each separate course, without risk to the Authors; and, after remunerating them as liberally as the resources of the Institution will allow, to apply the profits of the respective publications in aid of the Library. It is hoped that the liberal and especially the opulent friends of Evangelical and Congregational Nonconformity will evince, by their generous support, the sincerity of their attachment to the great principles of their Christian profession; and that some may be found to emulate the zeal which established the “Boyle,” the “Warburton,” and the “Bampton" Lectures in the National Church. These are legitimate operations of the "voluntary principle" in the support of religion, and in perfect harmony with the independency of our Churches, and the spirituality of the kingdom of Christ.
The Committee deem it proper to state, that whatever responsibility may attach to the reasonings or opinions advanced in any course of Lectures, belongs exclusively to the Lecturer.
CONGREGATIONAL LIBRARY, Blomfield Street, Finsbury, March, 1847.