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Meantime, it would be affectation, were I to dissemble my knowledge that these volumes will be received in many quarters with a strong prejudice against them. I cannot regret this as far as regards the followers of a party ; to such, be the party what it may, I cannot wish to write acceptably. But for those who are not tied to any party, who love truth and goodness for their own sakes, and who are willing to think for themselves, I should greatly grieve if they were to be prevented by any prejudice from reading fairly and confidently what they will find in these volumes. Above all, let no sincere Christian be disturbed by the fear of finding any thing in them low in principle or in feeling, any thing deserving the name of latitudinarian. He will find in them every Christian truth and every Christian virtue enforced with no qualifying or hesitating spirit. He will find no argument used which the writer did not himself believe no disproof of any statement suppressed

which was within the writer's own knowledge. The only latitudinarianism to be met with in these Sermons, is of a kind of which St. Paul has set the example. I have earnestly laboured to destroy that unchristian superstition, which, as a necessary consequence of its straining at the gnat, for ever swallows the camel. I have wished to inculcate Christian unity, the unity of the spirit ; and therefore have condemned that craving for unity of opinion and of form by which the true unity is rendered impossible. I have endeavoured to assert the authority of Law, which Fanaticism and Jacobinism are alike combining to destroy. I have upheld one standard and one authority in all moral points ; namely, the law of God; and one standard and one authority in all points of form and order; namely, the law of man: the first of these infallible and eternal; the second fallible and changeable; but both having an absolute claim in their respective departments to the implicit obedience of individuals.

It would also give me much concern if, because it is my fortune to oppose the stream of party opinion, I should be regarded as one who followed merely my own individual notions, ignorant or careless of the wisdom and experience of other men, whether past or present.

It would be, indeed, a strong presumption against any man's understanding, if he did not venerate and listen to the wisdom of those great men whom God has raised up at different times as the intellectual lights of the world. . But it has been my comfort to think, that all these, so far as I have been able to study them, have received for many years the constant tribute of my admiration; that my mind has never been suffered to want their guidance and their instruction. And if in any principle, or in the application of any principle when the circumstances were similar, I should be found to differ from these really great authorities, it would be to me as much a matter of surprise as of regret. Unhappily these great men are not numerous, and the mass of writers on all subjects are naturally of a very different description. And although this has not happened especially in theology ; for the multitude of ordinary historians or biographers, or writers of travels, is as great in proportion as that of ordinary divines ; yet there is a reason why such writers are in theology particularly worthless. Where facts are to be communicated, a man of very moderate powers, if he happens to have had access to sources of information not generally accessible, can tell us much which it is well worth our while to read. But in interpreting the writings of others, in carrying on processes of reasoning, in discussing questions of practice, in analysing human nature; in all those matters which are the common province of the theologian, the salt that has lost its savour is not more unprofitable than the writings of a feeble or prejudiced mind. And therefore it may be perfectly consistent with a very sincere reverence for the authority of great men to attach but little respect to a large proportion of what is called Divinity.

No words have ever so well described the true excellence of a theologian as our Lord's own comparison. Every scribe instructed unto the kingdom of heaven, is like unto a householder who bringeth out of his treasure things new and old.” Standing, as St. Paul expresses it, in the position of one who judges all things, the pre-eminent greatness of his task requires a cultivation of mind proportionably pre-eminent. His business is twofold, the interpretation of the Scriptures, and the application of them. The first is a matter of criticism and philology ; and every work that increases our knowledge of the languages in which the Scriptures were written; that assists us to fix the age and circumstances of the authors of the several books; or that throws light on the state of their times, in all its various divisions, is the proper study of a theologian

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