« PreviousContinue »
for those who shall eventually be saved; and others believe, as did DR. OUTRAM,* that it was offered indefinitely and generally on the behalf of mankind. The pious advocates of these different views profess an equal reliance on the Saviour's atonement for pardon of sin, and deduce from it the same obligations to holiness of heart and life; and in the statements and reasonings of this work, for the most part, they will equally coincide.
The reason of its being originally written in Latin was, doubtless, because the writings of Socinus and his earlier disciples were almost wholly in that language. The circumstances of the present times have suggested its translation into English. Few books of doctrinal theology have obtained such concurrent testimonies of high approbation from the most competent judges among Christians of various communions; and though the same principles have been ably
* The Author's name was Owtram, but latinizing it for this work he wrote it Outramus: and this way of spelling, without the termination, has been so generally retained, that the Translator thought it best to conform to it.
defended in numerous treatises, this work cannot justly be considered as at all superseded by any other that has yet appeared.
The opposition now made to the doctrine here maintained differs, indeed, from the manner in which it was opposed by the Socinians of the seventeenth century, with whom the author was called to contend. But their successors of the present day differ from them on this subject, principally in wider deviations from the plain and obvious. import of the phraseology of the sacred writers, and a more open disregard of scriptural authority. And if the argument of these Dissertations has any force against the disciples of Socinus and Crellius, it must possess still greater validity against the followers of Priestley and Lindsey.-The point at issue is infinitely important. If ATONEMENT FOR SIN BY THE SACRIFICE OF CHRIST be not a fundamental doctrine of Christianity, it may be justly affirmed, that the language of the scriptures leads to gross and mischievous error;-that the Jewish ritual was a mass of unmeaning ceremonies;
--and that there is no harmony between the law and the gospel, the prophets and the apostles, the Old Testament and the New :conclusions never to be admitted by minds that reverence the scriptures, or Him who inspired them.
The object aimed at in the translation has been a faithful exhibition of the sentiments of the author. In a few instances of verboseness, a fault more rare in DR. OUTRAM than in most writers of his age, the Translator has taken the liberty of using a little compression; but, he believes it will be found, without omitting any of the ideas of the original. The quotations from the rabbies, fathers, and classics, he has thought it sufficient to present to the reader in English, without inserting the originals, except in some particular cases which required their insertion. A few sentences which interrupted the continuity of the discourse, are removed from the text, and thrown into notes; and two or three passages are left untranslated, for a reason which must be too obvious to need explanation.
It can scarcely be necessary to remark, that in avowing a high estimate of the merit of the work, and an acquiescence in its general argument, the Translator must not be understood as professing an entire approbation of every sentiment it contains. He has occasionally ventured to state his difference of opinion in a note: and he is responsible for all those notes which are preceded by the letters TR.
He concludes by expressing his hopes, that the usefulness of the work will be extended by the form in which it is now published, and that it will be the means of establishing many in that doctrine, which, though regarded by some as a stumbling block, and by others rejected as foolishness, has in all ages approved itself to the understandings and hearts of multitudes as truly divine.