« AnteriorContinua »
determine. Nevertheless, that the author may dispose the critic to mercy in judgment, respecto ing such irregularities and deficiencies as may be detected therein, he begs to state that the following Discourses were composed and delivered in the usual routine of professional duty, as a series of evening lectures; that they were written for the occasion in the midst of labours connected with the tuition of youth, which labours are incompatible with the duties of the ministry, but to which, nevertheless, the dissenting ministry is too generally condemned. The author fears that certain passages in the following lectures will seem to be irrelevant, and others to be misplaced. Such instances will, for the most part, have been occasioned by circumstances occurring at the time of delivery. With respect to the notice of the Catholic miracles in the fifth lecture, the author observes, that it was in some degree called for, from the cirumstances of the neighbourhood in which he is situated. The application of the rule of truth to human duties, and to religious opinions, in the introductory lecture, was suggested by the work of Dr. Sykes, on the Connexion between natural and revealed religion. The second lecture has been much lengthened, and altered from its original state. The author regrets, that he was under the necessity of sending the last lecture to press, nearly in the state in which it was first
delivered. Wheresoever he has made use of the language of other writers, he has, as he believes, noticed the same by the usual marks and references: if, however, omissions in this respect, should appear, he hopes they will be attributed to oversight, and not design,
Finally, although the author's endeavour to prove that our hope through Christ is well-founded, may, as it regards the unbeliever, fail to produce any impression,-yet, if it should be the means of inducing the inquirer after truth to pursue the subject to conviction, of leading the thoughtless to reflect upon a theme so momentous to perishing man-of inciting the wavering to reconsider what he had almost given up as untenable and visionary-of strengthening the hope of one humble follower of Jesus, or of shedding one ray of spiritual comfort across the beclouded prospect of the child of suffering and of sorrow, he shall not have pleaded'in vain.
Preston, January, 1827.
1. INTRODUCTORY LECTURE.
Importance of the subject.--Encouragement which the advocate of christianity derives from the reflection, that the feelings and hopes of the wise and good of all seets and parties are with him.--The utter hopelessness of endeavouring to convert the unbeliever, either by the mysterious doctrines of the popular systems, or the fines and imprisonments inflicted opon him by the supporters of these doctrines.-Of natural religion.---Knowledge of God and of human duties, derived from nature, confirmed by revelation.—Truth, the rule of action : how defined.—The rule may be applied to all subjects.-Examples.Great superiority of revealed religion over that which is derived from the anassisted light of nature.Reasonableness a necessary characteristic of the doctrines of revelation. Of the leading causes of Infidelity.
· MY CHRISTIAN FRIENDS,
In commencing a course of lectures on the evidences of a religion which we have been accustomed to consider divine, and from which we have derived our notions of God and his providence, our rule of duty, and our prospect of a life beyond the grave, it is impossible not to perceive that we enter upon the discussion of a most important subject. It involves a no less momentous