« ÖncekiDevam »
other places of Worship, the alternate Sunday evenings, (the Lectures being delivered only once a fortnight) would be devoted to a refutation of the arguments. These circumstances, combined with the wish of many friends, and the appearance of two or three pamphlets against the Lectures sufficiently account for their publication.
Having then undertaken to poblish one Lecture every fortnight, I had only that time to prepare it for the press, to assure myself of the accuracy of the references, and to make additional references, notes, &c. In the mean time, besides other congregational duties, I had to prepare for the delivery of the next Lecture,* nearly all of them being re-composed. Thus, without an opportunity of consulting any friend for remarks or corrections, they were hastily sent off to the Printer, and seen no more till finished, there not being time for the return of a single proof sheet. All faults therefore lie at my own door; and if I have advanced any opinions as the
This remark applies only to the Lectures in the first volume.
opinions of Unitarians, which, as a body, they do not adopt, the blame attaches exclusively to myself. I hope however that this has not been the case to such an extent, as to injure that cause, which, believing to be the cause of God and of his Christ, I am anxious to serve and defend. I need only add, that I shall have no hesitation in fully acknowledging such faults as may be pointed out to me, and in giving up the results of any reasoning which shall be proved, to the conviction of my own mind, fallacious.
I do not mean to assert that these Lectures appear word for word as they were delivered. In the delivery of several of them, when the feelings were roused, sentences were introduced which did not exist in the manuscript; and more minute explanations were sometimes given. Owing to the necessity of speaking deliberately, and to the length of the Lectures, several pages together of the manuscript were frequently omitted ; so that whole paragraphs in the text were not delivered, and all the notes have been subsequent additions. But the same manuscript from
which they were delivered, was always sent to the Printer; the alterations were generally verbal only, and I believe that not one argument has been omitted, unless I found it had been before adduced.
I take the opportunity of repeating, in this place, what is mentioned in the first Lecture, that no pretensions to novelty are made in the following work. It is not intended to supersede, but to lead to the perusal of superior works. It is not intended to give information to persons versed in theological literature, but to those who, from want of opportunity or inclination, have hitherto neglected it. In the investigation of the subjects, the arguments which have made the greatest impression on my own mind, and produced conviction, are here presented to the public. These arguments I have endeavoured to arrange and methodize, and to present in such a point of view as might render them most perspicuous, intelligible, and striking to the serious inquirer. Some of the Lectures were first written several years ago. When, in reading upon the subjects, any arguments struck me as important, I
hesitated not to note them down, "sometimes in my own language, sometimes in that of the author. These notes have undergone various transformations, that in many instances it is difficult, if not impossible to say whence they were derived. As far, however, as I have been able to recollect, the author is referred to.
The Supplements sufficiently account in themselves for their appearance.
I have to regret that, in the hurry of paration for the press, that to No. 6, was not curtailed. The contents of the Supplement to No. 7, were extracted or translated with a view to the insertion of them as notes ; but thinking it probable that they would receive more attention if thrown together, they were put in the present form.
To persons, who, without investigation, have violently opposed and personally abused me, I can only express a hope that their minds may be changed.
To those, who, after a thorough examination, oppose from a principle of Christian duty, I would only say, let our opposition be a christian opposition, foun
ded on christian sincerity, conducted with christian candour.
To the neighbouring ministers, of our denomination, my thanks are due for their enrouragement and support. Nor, I hope, will my worthy colleague think I am taking too great a liberty, in thus, without his permission, desiring to express in the strongest language which friendship can dictate, my acknowledgments of his uniform kindness and assistance.
If an explanatory statement, by way of apology to any, be thought advisable, I feel it due only to those respectable persons, who, agreeing in sentiment, were doubtful of the good effects and fearful of the ill which might arise from the public declaration of those opinions. To such, the only apology, I can make is, a sincere regret at the wounds inflicted upon their feelings, and a sentiment of affectionate gratitude for their continued kindness and friendship, notwithstanding this difference of opinion. They will, I am sure, bear with with me, while I propose the following questions.
Ought not the fear of God to be supe