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mental doctrines of his creed; and the imposing Rationalist, who, by the illusions of a factitious resemblance, endeavours to substitute philosophy for the gospel; are enemies even more to be dreaded, than the declared and systematic Deist. The
open attacks of the one, directed against the Evidences of Christianity, have but served to strengthen the great outworks of our faith, by calling to its aid the united powers of its adherents: whilst the machinations of the others, secretly employed against the Doctrines of our religion, threaten, by eluding the vigilance, and lulling the suspicions, of its friends, to subvert through fraud, what had been found impregnable by force. To aid these machinations, a modern and depraved philosophy hath sent abroad its pernicious sophistries, infecting the sources of morality, and enervating the powers of manly thought; and the better to effect these purposes, clad in those engaging colours, which are peculiarly adapted to captivate the imaginations of young and ardent minds. Against arts and eneinies, such as these, the most strenuous exertions of all who value the religion of Christ, are at this moment imperiously demanded.
į In what manner to prepare for this conflict, we are informed on high authority. We are to take unio us the whole armour of God-having on the breast-plate of righteousness; and our feet shod with the preparation of the Gospel of peace: above all, taking the shield of FAITH, wherewith we shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked: and taking the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the spirit, which is THE WORD OF GOD. These are the arms, which are to ensure us victory in the contest:-and without these arms, we neither can, nor ought to stand. A conspiracy the most deep and deadly has been formed against Christianity. The Powers of darkness have combined their mightiest efforts. If then the sentinels of the Gospel sleep upon their posts, if they do not instantly rouse to its defence, they are guilty of the blackest treason to their heavenly master. There is no room for truce or accommodation. The Captain of our salvation has declared, that he that is not with him is against him. The force of this declaration is at this day peculiarly manifest. It is now become necessary, that a broad and distinct line should be drawn, between those who truly acknowledge the authority of Revelation, and those who, whilst they wear the semblance of Christians, but lend the more effectual support to the enemies of Christianity.
These reflexions, though befitting all who profess the religion of Christ, press peculiarly on those, who are destined to teach and to enforce his word. To you, my young friends, who look forward to the clerical office, they are important beyond description: and, if allowed their due weight upon your minds, they cannot fail to stimulate to the most zealous and effectual exertions in your pursuit of sacred knowledge. Already, indeed, has a more enlivened spirit of religious inquiry been manifested amongst you. To promote that spirit, and to supply some additional security against the prevailing delusions of the day, these Discourses, on the doctrines of Atonement and Sacrifice, — doctrines against which, above all others, the Deist, and the Rationalising Christian, direct their attacks,—were originally delivered, and are now published.
The desire expressed for their publication, by the existing divinity classes, had been long since complied with, but for the addition of certain arduous Academic duties to the ordinary engagements of the Author's Collegiate situation. To those, who are so well acquainted with the laborious employment, which those duties and engagements necessarily impose, no apology can be requisite on the ground of delay. More than twelve months have elapsed, since the greater part of these sheets were committed to the press: and the prosecution of the subject, has been unavoidably suspended during a considerable portion of the intervening period.
The form, in which the work is now presented, seems more to require explanation. The first design extended only, to the publication of the two discourses, with a few occasional and supplementary remarks: and on this plan, the sermons were sent to press.. But on farther consideration, it appeared advisable to enter into a more accurate, and extensive, examination of the subject: even though a short text should thereby be contrasted with a disproportionate body of
Notes. The great vice of the present day, is a presumptuous precipitancy of judgment: and there is nothing, from which the cause of Christianity, as well as of general knowledge, has suffered more severely, than from that impatience of investigation, and that confidence of decision upon hasty and partial views, which mark the literary character of an age, undeservedly extolled for its improvements in reasoning and philosophy. A false taste in morals, is naturally connected with a false taste in literature: and the period of vicious dissipation, is not likely to prove the era of dispassionate, and careful, enquiry. There is, however, no short way to truth. The nature of things will not accommodate itself, to the lazi. ness, the interests, or the vices of men. The paths, which lead to knowledge, are unalterably fixed; and can be traced, only by slow and cau
From these considerations, it was judged expedient to reduce the subject of these discourses, and the crude and superficial reasonings which have of late been exercised upon it, to a stricter and more minute test of enquiry. For this pur