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PRE FAC E.
In the following Discourses the Author has endeavoured, as in former volumes of Sermons which he has had occasion to publish, to render them as generally useful as possible. He has not laboured to be abftrufe, nor does he profess to claim the praise of originality; being better satisfied to produce arguments, however obvious, which may be serviceable to the cause of true religion.
When we consider how much has been written by the early apologists for Christianity; when we reflect on the numerous controversies which have called forth the abilities and stimulated the exertions of the moft profound inquirers into subjects of divinity; we cannot hope for much novelty at the present time. Yet perhaps a few observations may be found in this volume, wbich may place the subjects under difcuffion in a light somewhat different
from that in which they have been generally viewed.
On those particulars which create a difference of opinion among Christians, the Author has endeavoured to express himself, so as to give as little offence as possible. He trufts that his sentiments are unprejudiced, and wishes to respect all who may differ from him on conscientious motives. The censures which may be found in these Discourses are not defigned for any particular denomination of Christians; they apply only to the presümptuous and self-sufficient, to whatever communion they may belong. While he laments the existence of schism, he is the friend of universal toleration; and while he condemns the arrogance of the illiterate, he cannot but respect talents and knowledge, wherever they may be found. But while the Church is afpersed by illiberality, however painful controversy may be, its true friends must stand forward in its defence ; and while a spirit exifts which is intolerant and uncharitable, and which would
subversive of sound learning and dignified religion, caution cannot be too warmly or too frequent , recommended.
For any defects which may appear in the execution of the following work, the Author has to plead, that he has been afflicted with severe illness; and soon after the commencement of these Lectures he was incapacitated from the use of books, and consequently from the correction of his own pages ;- and for the delivery of some he was indebted to the kind assistance of friends.