Page images
PDF
EPUB

Not being much accustomed to writing, and making no pretensions to classical erudition, it is to be hoped that any deficiency either in style or composition will be charitably overlooked: the main object has been to write so as to be understood.

Such as these Lectures are, they are the result of a long, candid, and diligent search after truth; and as such, they are humbly submitted to the candid investigation and impartial judgment of the Christian world.

THE AUTHOR. Philadelphia, Nov. 5th, 1818.

THE approbation with which the first edition of this vork has been received, (being now wholly out of print,) has induced the Author to publish this second edition; and after carefully reviewing the work for that purpose, he has not been able to discover any error in point of fact, or any material defect in point of argument. Some few verbal alterations, and the occasional insertion of an additional note, constitute all the difference between this and the first edition. The work has had an opportunity to be fully tested by public opinion; and notwithstanding the substance of the eighth Lecture, (which is the most important of any in point of doctrine,) has been before the public nearly twenty years, and it is now more than five years since this work was first published, yet no one has attempted to point out a single error, in relation to the facts as herein stated, or to show that any of the arguments are either unfounded or inconclusive.* This is considered as a silent acknowledgment that, in the opinio! of the Clergy generally, the work is unanswerable: otherwise, being so often and so respectfully called

• The Letter to the author of these Lectures, by a Mr. Judson, was considered any thing rather than an answer; as it did not quote, or even attempt to answer a single paragraph : and had it not been for the recommendations which it received from the clergy and laity, (which ultimately grew, in the last edition, to thirteen in number,) it would not have been noticed at all; as in every sense of the word, whether in itself considered, or in re. lation to its author, it was wholly unworthy of notice. For the character of Judson, the reader is referred to a work entitled, " The Force of Prejudice," said to have been written by a res. pectable clergyman in the state of Connecticut, addressed to the thirteen recommenders of Judson's Letter, in which it is shown that J -n, the author of the letter above mentioned, is a poor, drunken, dissipated mortal, a mere pest to society, rather than a good citizen: and this is the man, who, because he has had a classical education, and believes in the doctrine of endless misery, the clergy and others have been willing to bolster up, for tire sake of putting down the doctrine of Universalism !

a

upon to consider the doctrine and arguments here advanced, and point out the errors, if there be any, it is difficult to account for their silence on this subject.

It must be obvious, as we are frankly willing to acknowledge, that if the doctrine here maintained is so dangerous to the souls of men, as the clergy of other denominations seem to imagine, the distribution of several thousand copies of these Lectures, which are read perhaps by ten times as many persons, will probably do much harm. Why then has no one attempted to convince the author of his error, if he is considered to be in one, as thereby this second edition might have been prevented from coming before the public ? The author of this work has no wish to deceive himself, much less to be instrumental in deceiving others. He, therefore, once more respectfully invites and entreats the clergy of other denominations, or some one of them, the more learned the better, to discuss this important subject with him; and to point out to him and the public, the supposed errors of the following work. For it must be obvious to all, that, in a free country like this, every new impression of any work is an evidence that the work is called for by the public, which is proof that it meets with public approbation. An author may be disposed to publish one edition of a favourite work, merely as a matter of experiment; but he would certainly be very imprudent to publish the second, unless it be supposed that he has a fair prospect of at least a reasonable profit to himself, as well as to meet the wishes of the public. Hence, if this work shall cease to be in demand when the present edition shall have been disposed of, it will then cease to be in the market.

A. K. Philadelphia, February 14th, 1824.

SERIES OF LEONURES, &C.

LECTURE I.

And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.-John xvi. 3.

IN these Lectures, several things will be taken for granted : 1. that there is one God, who is the only proper object of supreme worship and adoration; and 2. that God has not only revealed himself to his creatures through the medium of the great volume of nature, which is open to the inspection of all, but also through the medium of his son Jesus Christ, who is the brightness of his Father's glory, and the express image of his moral character. For, notwithstanding these are proper subjects of discussion, and would not be refused on a proper occasion, yet, they are foreign from our present purpose; and the discussion of them seems less necessary, since, as it must be admitted, “ the invisible things of bim (i. e. of God) from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Deity: :'* so, as it should seem, none but the fool can have the audacity to say in his heart, “ there is no God !” The discussion of these subjects is also rendered unnecessary, in all Christian assemblies, by the consideration, that Christians of every sect and denomination admit the truth of divine revelation

; “ the record which God has given of his Son." Hence it is useless to take up time to prove that

* JELOTNS godhead: a term too liable to be misunderstood.

which will be admitted by all, or, at least, by all with whom at present we have any concern.

When we appeal to the holy scriptures, therefore, in support of any fact, unless it can be shown that the particular passage is either spurious, er else erroneously translated, it will be taken for granted that the evidence is conclusive.

It will be our business this evening to urge, not only the importance of the subject, but the necessity of attending to the same; and therefore this lecture will be designed merely as an introduction; and as such, it is thought the text is peculiarly appropriate. And this is life eternal, to know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.

How great, how important the subject! Was there ever one of equal magnitude proposed to the consideration of man? All other subjects, all other attainments, sink into nothing, when brought in competition with eternal life. For however valuable other attainments may be, in themselves considered, yet their use to us is but of short duration ; and the time is approaching when they will cease to afford us consolation. Let us learn then to use the things of the world as not abusing them, knowing that the world, and the fashions thereof are passing away. And when the things of time and sense fail us, what an aching void would be left in each of our souls, could we not lay hold on something more sublime, and more permanent! Eternal life is the cordial which we need; it is the healing and sovereign balm for all our woes.

If any thing be due, by way of gratitude or respect, to men of learning and science, who have spent their days in the discovery of useful arts, in unfolding the riches of nature, by which the state of man is meliorated, and society improved, what shall we say of Him through whom life and immortality are brought to light? who unfolded, not the trea..

« PreviousContinue »