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“I meet with much fewer than I could wish, who search the Scriptures for these things,such as unheeded prophecies, overlooked mysteries, and strange harmonies; - which being clearly and judiciously proposed, may make that book appear worthy of the high extraction it challenges, and, consequently, of the veneration of considering men ; and who are solicitous to discern and make out, in the way of governing and of saving men revealed by God, so excellent an economy, and such deep contrivances, and wise dispensations, as may bring credit to religion; not so much as it is Roman, or Protestant, or Socinian, but as it is Christian.”
Boyle: Excellency of Theology.
“I am confident that the New Testament, rightly understood, would harmonize all dissonances, and bring the Christian church, not only with one heart,' but with one mouth,' to glorify God: And, the more I read and endeavour to study it in its own incomparable language, the more I am satisfied that there is an organic scheme of truth running through every part of it, which it will be yet granted to faithful Christians to enter into and become possessed of, and thereby to attain, not only the unity of the faith,' but also the unity of the knowledge of the Son of God.” - Unpublished Letter of Mr. Knox.
It may be necessary to premise, that these volumes
all of which are, - more or less, -in an unfinished state; not one of them having been left, or prepared, by Mr. Knox, expressly for publication. They were intrusted, however, unconditionally, to one, who, well aware of the writer's design that his ideas should, one day, be communicated to the world, has deemed it a duty now to give them to the public. All that is published is, almost precisely, as it was left: there have been no omissions, except of passages that had some strictly personal reference of a private nature ; nor any alterations but such as are merely grammatical, — the very few which were necessary to correct verbal inaccuracies of a rapid writer, pouring out the matter of a full and ardent, though a mature and practised mind.
Mr. Knox, in these writings, speaks on subjects of the weightiest importance, and of the most kindling interest. His ideas are, often, very original ; though always, it is believed, in consent with the spirit of Christian antiquity. In the least studied of his expressions, he is seldom harsh; and in his least finished arguments never unintelligible. With a due degree of attention, his meaning will, seldom, be miscon
ceived; where any thing is obscure, there has been no attempt to make it clearer; his sentiments stand, in every instance, in his own words; the most characteristic qualities of his writings are seen, in these volumes, unimproved and uninjured. His mind was one of those, which, in their superior elevation and enlargement, stand alone : it has been suffered here to show itself singly and prominently.
That there is no error in these writings, it would be too much, even for partiality, to presume: to say that there is no defect, would be to say that they are not human : but, that they contain as high and as deep a range of thought, as any in which enlightened reason has expatiated under the guidance of the inspired word, — that the piety which animates them is as pure and warm, and the genius that shines through them as bright and radiant as in any writings of modern times, is a sentiment which it is not hazardous to avow in the ears of those who can feel and understand, and are competent to pronounce upon them.
Some shades of difference in Mr. Knox's views, some changes of opinion, there may (one would almost
say there must) be found in these volumes. It is in the nature of things to suppose this. They contain the thoughts of one speaking, at various intervals, through a long series of years ; often on some of the most abstruse points of controversial theology. But it is believed that the discrepancies are not greater than will naturally-it may, perhaps, be said necessarily) exist in the variations of a mind which, always, thought for itself; and which, whenever it recurred