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pose, the present plan has been adopted as the best suited to that exactness of critical investigation which is due to the importance of the subject: and as the most fitly calculated, to direct the thoughts of the student, to the most useful topics of enquiry, and the most profitable sources of information. Such a plan, I have little doubt, will be favourably received by those, whose minds, trained in the habits of close deduction, and exercised in the researches of accurate science, cannot but be readily disposed to accept, in the place of general assertion and plausible declamation, a careful review of facts, and a cautious examination of scripture.
One circumstance, which is of no mean value in the method here pursued, is, that it enables us, without interrupting the thread of enquiry, to canvass and appreciate the pretensions of certain modern writers, whose high tone of selfadmiration, and loud vauntings of superior knowledge, have been but too successful in obtaining for them a partial, and temporary, ascendancy in public opinion; and who have employed the influence derived from that ascendancy, to weaken
the truths of Christianity, and to sap the dearest interests of man. I trust, that you, my young readers, will see enough in the Illustrations and Explanatory Dissertations accompanying these Discourses, to convince you, of the emptiness of their claims to that superiority, which, did they possess it, would be applied to purposes so injurious. You will, probably, see sufficient reason to pronounce, that their pretensions to philosophic distinction, and their claims to critical pre-eminence, stand on no better grounds, than their assumption of the exclusive profession of a pure Christianity. The confident and overbearing language of such men, you will then regard as you ought: and from the review of their reasonings, and the detail of their religious opinions, you will naturally be led to feel the full value of the duly regulated discipline of the youthful understanding, in those severer exercises of scientific study, which give vigour to the intellect, and steadiness to the judgment; and the still greater value, of that early reverence for the mysterious sublimities of religion, which teaches the humility becoming man's highest powers, when directed to the yet higher things of God.
The half learning of modern times, has been the fruitful parent, of multiplied evils: and it is not without good cause, that the innovating theorist of the present day, makes it his first object to abridge the work of education, and under the pretence of introducing a system of more immediate practical utility, to exclude that wholesome discipline, and regular institution, which are essential to conduct the faculties of the young mind, to sound and manly strength.
I cannot conclude this prefatory address, without indulging in the gratifying reflexion, that, whilst the deceptions of wit, and the fascinations of eloquence, combined with a wily sophistry, and an imposing confidence, have but too frequently produced their pernicious effects, to the detriment of a true Christian faith, on the minds of the inexperienced, and unreflecting; these audacious attempts have seldom found, in this place, any other reception, than that of contempt and aversion :- and with true pleasure I feel myself justified in pronouncing with confidence, that, so long as the Students of this Seminary, intended for the office of the ministry, continue to evince
the same serious attention to religious subjects, which has of late years so honourably distinguished numbers of your body, and so profitably rewarded the zealous labours of your instructors in sacred literature, Christianity will have little to fear in this land from such attempts.
That you may gloriously persevere, in these laudable efforts to attain the most useful of all learning, and in the conscientious endeavour to qualify yourselves for the due discharge of the most momentous of all duties: that so the work of God may not suffer in your hands; but that being judged fit dispensers of that wisdom which is from above, you may hereafter be enabled to turn many to righteousness, and finally to obtain the recompence of the good and faithful servants of Christ, is the ardent wish and prayer, of your very sincere friend,
APRIL 22, 1801.
It is now nearly seven years, since application was made to the Author, by his Bookseller, for a new Edition of the DisCOURSES ON THE SCRIPTURAL DOCTRINES OF ATONEMENT AND SACRIFICE. It being his intention to introduce into the work, considerable alterations in point of form, and considerable additions in point of matter; he deferred complying with the Bookseller's desire, ' until he should be able to accomplish this intention. The same preventive causes, to which in the PREFATORY ADDRESS TO THE STUDENTS he had occasion formerly to advert, again operated to produce delay; and have occasioned this late appearance of the promised publication. The work, which now issues from the press,