Page images
PDF
EPUB

PREFACE.

The following pages are offered with no presumptuous feeling; with no expectation or desire that they should obtain a credit not in strictest justice their due. It is the object of them, by drawing the attention more closely to the Inspired Volume, to endeavour the promotion of truth ; in times, when the mind of man is somewhat too apt, through eagerness of inquiry, to go beyond its right limits, to shew, however humbly, the necessity, if it would not incur the perils of absurdity and falsehood, of adhering to the only rule which is capable of maintaining it in a safe direction. Plain truths are stated in ordinary terms, and proved on ordinary grounds. Nothing, perhaps, is accomplished, which very many persons would not have done with as much or greater correctness; and no pretension is arrogated of a better knowledge, or a deeper inquiry. The work is addressed to those who seek not gratification in ingenious theories, or inviting fancies ; who disregard not reality because it presents itself in simple form ; who despise not the industry which would collect proofs, and place them in connection, as a more advantageous employment than the bolder proposal of novelty of system. The Mosaic account of the Creation is insisted on in its single and literal. meaning Controversy, nevertheless, is not challenged; no matter is introduced which would perplex the mind, or distract the attention, of the uncontroversial reader; it is rather sought to secure from any such perplexity than to lead into it. The writer trusts, that, where the intelligence is satisfied with the correctness of the history of Moses, in our usual acceptation of his language, any attempt of the theorist, whether of him who may be desirous of superseding it altogether, or of him, of whom if the purpose be not so mischievous yet the effect of it if successful would be equally so, will be futile; he trusts that, once established, the conviction will be impregnable to attack. He is aware, that an interpretation has been put on statements of this history, which the words, literally construed, do not admit; and he by no means wishes here to impute à design of invalidating the authority of Moses ; but, he cannot avoid seeing, that, the literal interpretation departed from, no conclusive or satisfactory account is to be had; and that the world would eventually be thrown into as much obscurity

regarding creation as it had fallen into before the delivery of this history: it would have no standard. His own careful examination has rooted in

him the belief that Moses intended his account to

be literally received ; and he is fortified in it by the opinions and arguments of theologians of acknowledged capability. Besides this, he has been desirous of inducing a nearer regard of the works of creation, in order to a fuller knowledge and service of the Creator Himself. The more we look into ourselves and every thing about us; the more we search, submissively it is meant to the Revealed Word, the more reason shall we have for love and obedience of the Great First Cause. This is a study well becoming God's best work below, His immortal creature : hence may he learn, what he is, and what he is designed to be; hence may he know, what has been done for him ; what wonders have been brought to pass for his comfort and happiness; and, by consequence, what thankfulness is due to his Gracious Benefactor. The works of God are worthy to be inquired of; and, if the inquiry be conducted on Scriptural warrant, in a deferential following of the Revelation which God has vouchsafed of them, the inquirer must needs rise from it a wiser and a better man. Every step he advances in the knowledge of God and of his own duty, will be a step in godliness ; he will understand how his obligations are increased, and will regulate his practice accordingly. If this Work have any such effect, its purpose will be abundantly answered, and the labour bestowed upon it amply repaid. When it was entered on, it was in other form, and with a view to personal satisfaction. The progress of it, however, opened a prospect of which this is the result; and that method of inquiry, which had been beneficial in the Writer's own case, and had confirmed his previous persuasions, seemed to be possessed of a likelihood to operate after the same manner with others. Thus it is, without further remark, that he offers it to the public; unambitious of recompence, except the credit of having endeavoured to be useful; and, to be adjudged useful, in the degree and the instance in which he has endeavoured, is merit enough for the most anxious of the reputation of it.

« PreviousContinue »