« EdellinenJatka »
and one to which it is my hope that the reader, however he may dissent from me in particular instances, will not now be liable.
Still to the purchasers of the former volume an apology is due for superseding it, as the present work does; an apology, which it might not be easy to find, were pecuniary considerations the chief concern with them or with the writer. As it is, he seeks his justification for the manner in which he has published what he feels to be valuable truth, in the exceeding greatness of the theme, which must cause treatises, far more elaborate than any he has attempted, to be considered but as steps in the progress towards clearer and still clearer light.
For the views presented in these pages the author is alone responsible. The reader will look in vain for an exposition of the peculiar opinions of any denomination of Christians. The work makes pretensions to no such character. It is simply an attempt to state the convictions of an individual mind upon a subject of the greatest interest; to give expression to a deep sense of the vital truth of the divinest chapter in the history of the world; to bring home to other minds the reality of that momentous period, when a full revelation was made by the Father of lights, and this earth was honoured by the presence of a special messenger from Heaven.
To all who are seeking light-thirsting for a real, personal knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ, the writer, with fraternal sympathy and respect, proffers the aid of this volume. Whether they assent to such of his statements as may be accounted peculiar, is not the chief concern. If the perusal of these pages. tends to refresh and increase their sense of the truth of those matchless Records, to make them feel that there is far more contained therein than they have yet dreamed, his labour will
not be in vain. The honour commonly paid to the Scriptures is, to a very great extent, the hollow homage of prescription and conformity. We cannot but remark the absence of a cordial, intelligent sense of their worth. The common mode of commenting on them is technical, petty, childish. They are handled as if it were feared that they would break, were they submitted to a thorough examination; as if, though made of true Asbest,' they could not bear the searching fires of free inquiry. This thing ought not so to be. This treatment of the sacred volume, our anxiety on its account, is narrow, needless, and insulting. Vain is the fear of what man can do unto it. It owes not the slightest advantage to the forbearance of his boasted intellect, and holds all such protection as beneath disdain. Charged with the inspiration of immortal truth, it shall in due time receive due regards, and be treated with the generous respect and fearless confidence which must accompany the recognition of its true character. In the meanwhile, amidst much unbelief, and much indifference, cheering signs are visible. The moral reforms in which men are becoming interested, are incidentally disclosing the incompetency of the common methods of scriptural interpretation. For his own part, the present writer abides in the belief that the world is breathing a little more freely every day; and, if he may refer to his own limited experience, he knows not which has been most gratifying, the cordial assent which has been given by some to his modes of viewing certain scriptural subjects, or the candour with which he has been judged by others, who could not agree with him, and for which he takes this opportunity of making his thankful acknowledg