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That nothing may be found in the following pages but what has been set forth more ably before, will not, I trust, be deemed any good reason for considering this publication as a use
In the present times the multitudes of new works following each other in rapid succession, which the most diligent reader can scarcely overtake, yet is unwilling entirely to relinquish, is a very unfavourable circumstance for acquiring the information to be found in the old, and makes former authors to be
much neglected and forgotten. It is from short works and periodical publications that our young people now receive their information and impressions; and what may be perused at one continued sitting, will often give the mind clearer ideas, and impulses more invigorating, than lengthened and recondite writings of far greater learning and ability. Nay, the
Nay, the very deficiencies and wants of a concise work will sometimes set a young person to think for himself, who might, perhaps, at the conclusion of what is called a course of reading, have only found his memory possessed of many
confused, mutilated, contradictory ideas, with which he would have but little inclination to occupy his thoughts any further. If these pages collect for the reader, under one general view, what he would not have collected for himself, they are useful ; and should they not be found to contain one observation which has not been often and better expressed before, yet still, as connected with such a simple unbroken exposition of Scripture authority, they are useful and deserving of attention. What does it signify where ideas are to be found, to one who, from the habits, pursuits, and prepossessions of the times, is withheld from searching after them ? And above all, they ought to be reckoned useful, should they induce a youthful reader to become acquainted with the best writers of all sects on the present momentous subject; doing it, however, with a prudent caution against ingenious and subtle reasoning, which a good cause seldom requires, and from which a bad cause so often receives its greatest or only support.
A VIEW, &c.
CONCERNING the nature and dignity of our blessed Saviour there have been many different opinions, professing to rest upon the testimony of Scripture; but three great distinct doctrines are the groundwork of all. The high church doctrine of the Trinity makes Jesus Christ God, equal in power, and all other attributes, with the supreme God, or God the Father. That which is commonly called the Arian, supposes him to be a most highly exalted Being, who was with God before the creation of the world, and by whose agency it probably was created, by power derived from Almighty God. That which is denominated the Socinian, regards him as the great Missioned Prophet of God, sent into the world to reveal his will to men ; to set them an example of perfect virtue; and to testify the truth of his mission by the sacrifice of his life.