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THAT the author of the following Discourses should be found to have thrown new light on the correspondency between the positive and ritual parts of the Law of Moses, and the facts and doctrines of the Christian religion, a subject which has been so often discussed and elucidated by much abler pens than his own, was not the effect which he contemplated, as a probable result of this work. He had no view in the primary contemplation of his undertaking, beyond that of endeavouring to excite a new interest in an old and familiar subject, and to exhibit acknowledged and unquestionable truths in a popular and intelligible light, for the benefit of the simplest understanding. The religious world therefore must not expect to find much that is novel in the present volume. If it coincides with generally received opinions on the subject of which it treats, and offends no orthodox doctrine, the author will have attained his object.
All ingenuous and observant readers of the New Testament, who consider that sacred volume as intended to be understood in the sense which naturally presents itself to an unsophisticated mind, in remarking the references and allusions to the old Law, therein of perpetual recurrence, will not fail to be convinced of the intimate and indisputable relation which the two covenants bear to each other. That familiarity and fre
quency, moreover, with which St. Paul, in his Epistles, is found to transfer a variety of ideas, and a corresponding variety of phrases, from the Hebrew ritual to the existing relations of Christians, may justly be considered as an argument that the case of the Jew, in subjection to his proper law and his proper discipline, mutatis mutandis, was exactly the counterpart of the case of the Christian in subjection to the Gospel—that the whole body of the Law of Moses was animated by a spirit, which identified it with the Gospel of Jesus Christ—that every part of its multiform and complicated ritual, when distinctly examined and rightly understood, will be found to possess a figurative or typical sense and import, and to teach some Gospel truth. To explain this sense and import, divested of its figurative or typical covering, and to elicit these Gospel truths from the symbolical rites and institutions of the Law, if not in a more regular and systematic, yet in a more simple and familiar manner than he had before seen attempted, appeared to the author of the present publication very desirable, and is what he has endeavoured to effect.
Possibly, indeed, there may be some serious and well intentioned Christians, who have imbibed an opinion, that to study the nature, relations, and constitution of the Levitical ritual, with any special degree of attention, is not likely to edify or benefit them in a spiritual sense as Christians, or necessary to their improvement in saving knowledge, or saving practice, at present. The author of the following Discourses entertains a different opinion on this subject. He believes it is the present duty of all those sincere professors of Christianity, who desire to enable themselves to give a reason of the hope that is in them, “ to search the”