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Entered, according to Act of Congress, in the year 1853, by
s. C. CHANDLER, In the Clerk's office of the District Court of the United States,
for the Southern District of New York.
JOHN J. REED, PRINTER,
WHOEVER reads this volume will be convinced that the author has not followed a beaten path, and that our shelves, now burdened with religious and theological books, are entirely vacant of any such work as this.
The design of this treatise is to aid in the great work of Reform, in what passes for the Orthordox Theology of our age, and restore to the Church and the world the apostolic faith and doctrines ; showing their harmony and consistency with themselves, with reason, and the principles of the Divine government, and the plan of man's redemption.
We have avoided the use of all those ambiguous, metaphysical, and theological terms and technicalities, “ taking heed to the form of sound words”-words used by Moses and the Prophets, Christ and the Apostles. We have been careful, also, to let the Bible speak for itself, on every subject treated in this work, in the plainest language, and the most familiar style.
In its production, the author lays no claim to literary merit, but has aimed simply to be understood, and make an impression upon the mind of the reader, of the validity and importance of the great truths presented. The literature of the Bible is a plain common sense literature, and it should never be dressed up in the highly rhetorical language, figures, and unmeaning technicalities of ingenious divines, or neological and transcendental metaphysicians.
“The poor have the gospel preached to them.”
6 The common people heard Christ gladly”—because they could understand Him. His language was pure and elevated, yet simple and unadorned with human philosophy, and easily comprehended.
It was written within the compass of four months, in the midst of a pressure of pastoral labors, and not a page of it has he had time to revise or rewrite. He has, however, endeavored to have it as free from typographical and other errors, as his limited time would permit.
Not to extend the pages beyond their present limits, many passages of Scripture are put in small type. As he treats directly upon the theology of the Bible, in using its language the quotation marks are omitted.
Imperfect as it is, and criticised as it may be, the author hopes that this volume will be acceptable to his numerous friends, who urged its publication, and prove a blessing to the Church and the world. He expects not to be spared from the “critics' dagger”-but if his labor herein accomplishes his design in bringing glory to God, he fears not its point.
AFTER a number of years spent in close labored study of the Holy Scriptures, in which the truths of divine origin have been contemplated regardless of the opinions of men, the Author is too deeply impressed with their sublimity and importance, and a sense of his obligations to God, and duty to his fellow-beings, to withhold from the world the result of his investigations.
That the Scriptures are attractive to the unvitiated heart, is evident from the indelible impressions made by our first lessons on the creation of the world, and the existence of a Supreme Being who made all things, together with the increasing interest and reverence manifest while listening to those lessons, and a desire to know more of their wonderful revealings. As our minds expanded, could we have been instructed with that tender solicitude for our spiritual good which the early Christians exercised to imbue the susceptible minds of their youth with the knowledge and faith of the Gospel, when divine truth was the first subject of instruction and entwined with their
purest associations, forming a basis on which to erect a system of pure and undefiled religion: then we might have secured a taste for knowledge, and the beauties of sacred learning, created by that Book, in which no achievements are described, nor characters lauded, but such as are adorned with the fruits of righteousness.
The pious care of the primitive Christians intermingled religion with all the pursuits and recreation of the young, not permitting them to engage in the study of science, or plunge into the business of the world, until they had been first taught in the morals of the Gospel, and the principles of the Holy Law. The Bible would hold a supremacy over the mind of a person thus educated, transcending all other works, and commanding infinitely more reverence and love. Such a person would possess an intelligent faith, and experience a degree of happiness, and joyful independence, as in more mature years, he opened the sacred volume and read for himself, and became familiar with its glorious truths, and the existence of the great King and Ruler of the universe, and with the principles of His divine administration. But if our first teachings and impressions are incorrect, and we grow up in error, we have a more difficult task to unlearn and overcome our prejudices, than to learn any thing we find in the Scriptures, and are thus deprived of the richest blessing which it is our privilege to enjoy.
No person can commence with the first teachings, and learn the story of the creation, the formation of man out of the dust, and his settlement in the Eden of bliss, surrounded with every comfort which he had a capacity to enjoy ; his subsequent fall, and the curse he brought upon himself and