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HOLD FAST THE FORM OF SOUND WORDS."
PROVE ALL THINGS ; HOLD FAST THAT WHICH IS GOOD."

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Second Edition.

LONDON:
HENRY WASHBOURNE, NEW BRIDGE STREET ;
ROBERTSON; AND CURRY AND CO., DUBLIN ;

OLIVER AND BOYD, EDINBURGH,

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PRE FACE.

The age in which we live is characterised by many things which the Christian contemplates with a holy satisfaction ; but there exists, also, much to excite grief and produce alarm. The continued existence and progressive success of the efforts made by societies and individuals,-in many, would it might be said, in most cases,—under the impulse of faith in the Redeemer's promises, love to the souls of men, and zeal for the glory of Jehovah, to disseminate the Gospel at home and abroad, and make the benefits and blessings it confers co-extensive with the wrecks of the Fall and the ravages of sin,—must awaken delight in every wellregulated, Christian mind. “ Many run to and fro, and knowledge is widely increased.” May it advance till “the earth be filled with the knowledge of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea.'

But, on the other hand, how many evils exist and abound, over which every one must weep, whose heart is filled with the love of God and of the bre

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thren!” How vast the disproportion between profession and reality, in all the churches of Christ! The

offence of the cross,' as regards either the preaching of Christ crucified, or attendance on the ministry of such as preach him, has nearly ceased :' and to talk in the language of the Gospel, and associate with the religious, and approve, at least, of their benevolent doings, is to be fashionable rather than to be persecuted.

Then, how deplorably do discord and contention prevail among the professed disciples of one Lord; because, on some minor topics of opinion, they differ in sentiment ! In England and Scotland, within the last half dozen years, has not this state of things grown up, with an almost incredible rapidity, into a fearful magnitude ? A fiery ordeal all profess to believe to be at no great distance; but, instead of growing unity, the result of predominating love, there are increasing, “schisms' and divisions among the members of the body of Christ; and intolerance seems strong, often, in proportion to the comparative insignificance of the topics that produce diversities of judgment.

Still further, is there not a growing rage for novelties, to minister to a morbid love of excitement? Is not the mental constitution of many so diseased, that it requires the action of continual stimulants? And in the habitual indulgence of such a spirit, has not all concern for the salvation of perishing multitudes,

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