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which a transposition, or other slight alteration, renders that luminous which was before ambiguous or obscure. In all these cases, I have used the liberty which I should exercise upon the posthumous writings of a son or a brother; and which, in a similar case, I should hold it a favour to have applied to my own.
These verbal alterations, introduced only where they appeared to be strongly demanded, will be found, I trust, to combine in the one effect of presenting Dr. Henry's conceptions in a much more perspicuous view than English readers, at least, would be likely to derive from the forms previously adopted. In the impossibility of consulting an Author, whom death has taken out of the circle of earthly communications, it would seem more agreeable to the love and veneration which we owe him, to adopt such corrections of evidently hasty composition as we are morally certain that he would have approved, than to retain, by a kind of useless superstition, any occasional phraseology which really impedes his known design.
I was induced to undertake the somewhat irksome task of preparing these Letters for the press, by a conviction, that with much originality and independence of sentiment, they exhibit a picture of the human mind in some of its most interesting states of feeling; that they embrace the essential points of genuine and scriptural religion, and that they are calculated to be eminently useful in a department of serious inquiry, in relation to which it would be difficult to mention any writer who has treated it with the particularity that it requires. The invaluable treatises of Preston and Sibbes, Shepard, Alleine, and Baxter, Halyburton, Doddridge, and Witherspoon-a part of the richest treasures of the true church of God-enter only upon some of the sides and sinuosities of this ample field, and fall far short of exploring its obscure and dreary extent. * Dr. HENRY'S prompt and vigorous mind formed a boldly comprehensive idea of the object which it was so desirable to accomplish. That he has carried every point, and left
* For the right information and the most healthful discipline of the mind which is favoured to entertain “a good hope through grace," I feel a strong conviction that few human books would be found so thoroughly beneficial as one which, most unhappily and to most injurious effect, has been popularly put under the ban of a sort of awful proscription, as unfit for a young christian to read ; President EDWARDS's Treatise concerning Religious Affections. The obstruction to growth and vigour in religion, and the prevention of the most solid spiritual benefit, which have been produced by this wide-spread prejudice, must have been awfully great. In my humble apprehension, the book would be terrific to those only whom it is the purest kindness to alarm. To the sincere believer, weak, immature, and trembling as he may be, that luminous and penetrating work, “ disclosing," as Mr. Young says, “what we may call the Philosophy of Religious Affections,” would be eminently instructive, establishing, and consolatory. But I borrow an advice from the judicious
nothing further to be attempted or to be wished for, it would be absurd to pretend. But, by a few rapid and masterly strokes, he has done much; and he has done it well. He has left his dying legacy; a work which could have been produced only by a fine natural genius, aided by extensive scriptural study, habits of deep experimental self-knowledge, large intercourse with men, penetrating observation, and, above all, a very abundant measure of sanctifying influence from the ALMIGHTY and HOLY SPIRIT.
I am unwilling to close these remarks, without intreating the serious Inquirer into the way of a divine deliverance from sin and misery, to peruse the following
writer just quoted : “One thing, against which the reader ought to be guarded, is a relaxed and cursory perusal of the volume.” See the Introductory Essay to the elegant Glasgow edition of Mr. EDWARDS'S work, by the Rev. David Young.
pages with intense earnestness and with unremitting and fervent prayer. Let him know that, without these conditions, he can expect no benefit to his soul; and that, neglecting them, this book, though dictated by an unmeasured anxiety of benevolent consideration, may probably be the means of soothing his conscience and hardening his heart, and so may prove “a savour of death unto death!” It may, further, be not useless to invite the reader's attention to two capital principles which the devoted Author had deeply at heart to enforce: the one, that, in the great work of seeking eternal salvation, we are to look for no disclosures of God's secret will, no mystical communications, no impulsive assurance of pardon and happiness, in short, no means or evidences of conversion but such as consist in the application of
REVEALED, by the agency of the Divine SPIRIT, operating upon the rational faculties of men, and