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the question, in the minds of all intelligent inquirers, in relation to the Divine origin of the Christian religion. Subsequent reflection has confirmed this opinion.
Convinced himself of the Divine origin of the religion of the Bible, the author commenced a series of letters to convey to his friend the evidence which had satisfied his own mind beyond the possibility of doubt.
The correspondence was, by the pressure of business engagements, interrupted. The investigation was continued, however, when leisure would permit, for a number of years. The results of this investigation are contained in the following chapters. The epistolary form in which a portion of the book was first written will account for some repetition, and some varieties in the style, which otherwise might not have been introduced.
Reasons for presenting the work to the public. Book-making is not the author's profession. But after examining his own private library, and one of the best public libraries in the country, he could find no treatise in which the course of reasoning was pursued which will be found in the following pages. Dr. Chalmers, in closing his Bridgewater Treatise, seems to have had an apprehension of the plan and importance of such an argument ; and had he devoted himself to the development of the argument suggested, the effort would have been worth more to the world than all the Bridgewater Treatises put together, including his own work.
Coleridge has somewhere said, that the Levitical economy is an enigma yet to be solved. To thousands of intelligent minds it is not only an enigma, but it is an absolute barrier to their belief in the Divine origin of the Bible. The solution of the enigma was the clue which aided the writer to escape from the labyrinth of doubt; and now, standing upon the rock of unshaken faith, he offers the clue that guided him, to others.
A work of this kind is called for by the spirit of the age. Although the signs of the times are said to be propitious, yet there are constant developments of undisci. plined and unsanctified mind both in Europe and America,
which furnishes matter of regret to the philanthropist and the Christian. A struggle has commenced—is going on at present_and the heat of the contest is constantly increasing, in which the vital interests of man, temporal and spiritual, are involved. In relation to man's spiritual interests, the central point of controversy is the “cross of Christ.” In New England, some of those who have diverged from the doctrine of the fathers, have wandered into a wildness of speculation which, were it not for the evil experienced by themselves and others, ought, perhaps, to be pitied as the erratic aberrations of an unsettled reason, rather than blamed as the manifestation of minds determinately wicked. The most painful indication connected with this subject is, that these guilty dreamers are not waked from their reveries by the rebuke of men whose position and relations in society demand it at their hands.
The west, likewise, is overrun by sects whose teachers, under the name of Reformers, or some other inviting appellation, are using every effort to seduce men from the spiritual doctrines and duties of the gospel, or to organize them into absolute hostility against Christ. These men are not wanting in intellect, nor in acquired knowledge, and their labours have prejudiced the minds of great numbers against the spiritual truths of the gospel, and rendered their hearts callous to religious influence. These facts, in the author's opinion, render such a volume as he has endeavoured to write necessary, in order to meet the exigencies of the times.
and affects the soul............
Concerning the manifestations of God which would be neces-
sary, under the new and spiritual dispensation, to produce in
the soul of man affectionate obedience
Concerning the influence of faith in Christ upon the moral
disposition and the moral powers of the soul.................. 134
Concerning the agency of God in carrying on the work of re-
demption, and the manner in which that agency is exerted 169
Concerning the practical effects of the system as exemplified
in individual cases .......................................................... 174