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The following Lectures on the Acts of the Apostles were delivered, on the Wednesdays during the season of Lent, in the years 1827, 1828. and they are now published, in compliance with the wishes of those who heard them. The reader will not expect to find in them any thing of learned disquisition on matters of criticism, or on disputed points of interpretation ; nor much of dogmatical theology. They are neither more nor less than the result of an endeavour to render a portion of Scripture history interesting and instructive to a congregation, chiefly consisting of persons with little leisure for research; by placing its principal features in a striking light, exhibiting their mutual bearing and connexion, and pointing out the practical inferences to be drawn from them. The continual and laborious duties incumbent upon me, as Rector of a populous parish in London, and Bishop of an extensive diocese, have long deprived me of that leisure, without which I could neither hope greatly to benefit the cause of sacred literature, nor to acquire that credit as an author, which is a legitimate, though secondary object of ambition, even to the Christian minister. But my first and dearest object will be attained, if, by these humbler labours in my vocation, I shall have contributed any thing to the spiritual knowledge or advancement of my Christian readers, and especially of those, over whom I am appointed to watch, as one that must give account.
The Lectures on St. John were first published in 1823, and have since passed through three editions. They are now reprinted in a larger form; and are to be considered, not as a systematic or complete scriptural proof of the doctrine of our Saviour's divinity; but as a familiar elucidation of that particular branch of the demonstration, which consists in the testimony of the beloved disciple. For a more elaborate and extended view of that testimony, I would refer the reader to an excellent work of Dr. Tittmann, entitled, “ Meletemata Sacra, sive Commentarius Exegetico-critico-dogmaticus in Evangelium Ioannis. Lipsiæ. 1816.”
In order to assist that class of readers, for whom the Lectures on St. John are chiefly intended, in forming a judgment between the doctrine of the Church of England, and those of the Arians and
Socinians, I have reprinted a very plain and sensible tract, published by Dr. Tucker, Dean of Gloucester, in the year 1774, and now not commonly to be met with.
June 2, 1828.