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In presenting the following work to the public, the author has been actuated by various considerations, the principal of which may be enumerated as follows:
1st. A desire to contribute his mite to the common fund of moral and religious knowledge, the benign influence of which is destined to ameliorate the condition of human society, and effect a glorious change in the intellectual powers
2d. A wish to comply with the numerous solicitations of his friends, who have frequently requested him to publish from the press the discourses contained in this book, which they were pleased to approbate when they were first delivered from the pulpit.
3d. He believes that the subjects discussed will be found highly interesting to all who love the truth, and desire to see the same prevail.
4th. The author is of opinion that this little volume contains an unusual variety of arguments and illustrations pertaining to morals and theology; that words are not unnecessarily multiplied, and that the ideas are expressed in an intelligible and concise manner.
5th. Although the book is not designed as a full system of Divinity, yet it is intended, as denoted by its title, to serve as a Key; by means of which the reader will be able to arrive at some just conclusion in reference to most controverted points in religion.
6th. It is believed that the classification of scripture and the preparation for a theological debate, will be convenient and useful to all those who desire to know the truth and discover the real meaning of Bible words and phrases.
7th. It was thought greatly desirable to have a small collection of truly devotional Hymns, as a companion for those who delight in the harmonious strains of sacred song : Hence a few hymns are added.
That the light of divine truth may dispense its heavenly beams through all the dark regions of vice and error, is the prayer of the public's humble servant.
Madrid, N. Y. 1836.
THE CHRISTIAN WARFARE.
TEXT.-Eph. vi, 11. "Put on the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the Devil.”
VARIOUS appropriate and beautiful emblems are made use of in the scriptures, by which to represent the nature of those labors through which the christian is called to pass while travelling through this transitory world.
We find the life of the christian represented as a journey, in which the traveller is seeking a better country, even a heavenly. It is also compared to a race run for a prize, in which those who engage run "not as uncertainly," like those that "beat the air"-but all who run are sure to win. But the christian's life is frequently brought forward under the figure of a warfare. The author of our text, exhorts Timothy, his son in the gospel, to "fight the good fight of faith." This great apostle, when he drew near the close of life, looked back upon former scenes and labors, and exclaimed with exultation, "I have fought a good fight; I have finished my course; I have kept the faith: henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness.
another time, Paul asserts, that he had fought not barely with men, but with characters which he denominates "beasts." "If after the manner of men," says he, "I have fought with beasts at Ephesus," &c. What the apostle here denominates "beasts," were doubtless those clamorous
and violent opponents whom he once encountered in the city of Ephesus, who, when Paul preached Jesus and the resurrection, cried out "our craft is in danger." By this means an uproar was soon raised among the people, so that they set up a great shout for about the space of two hours, and cried "great is Diana of the Ephesians." Paul's voice was lost in the cry of the multitude. In the same manner, the voice of scripture, truth and reason is often drowned at the present day by the popular clamor.
"Christ is called a "leader and commander"-he is styled "the captain of salvation," and his followers are called "soldiers of Jesus Christ." Sinners are called upon by this leader to follow him. "If any man will be my disciple, let him deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me."
It appears to be the principal design in the preaching of the gospel to persuade sinners to enlist, or engage, in the service of this glorious and triumphant commander, and under him to go a campaign against the common enemy.
The aptness of the figure contained in the text appears from the following considerations: In the wars of this world, when soldiers are called upon to take the martial field to defend their country from the invasions of the hos tile foe, in order to be of any advantage to the cause in which they are to engage, it is necessary, in the first place, that they be properly armed and equipped-an unarmed soldiery would rather encumber than assist an army.
The same is the fact concerning the christian warfare. Those who are called upon to take the gospel field and fight under the captain of salvation, are required to come, having on "the whole armor of God."
Again to carry on a war to advantage it is necessary that the enemy be distinctly known; the soldiers should know who the enemy is, and what is the amount of his