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THE DIVINE AUTHORITY OF HOLY SCRIPTURE
REAL STATE OF HUMAN NATURE,
SOLD BY J, PARKER, OXFORD; MESSRS. RIVINGTON, ST. PAUL's
THE following Lectures having been undertaken under somewhat unusual circumstances, (which, however, it is not necessary here to describe,) the Author is unwilling-indeed, has too much respect for the public — to submit them to general perusal without some explanation.
It has been observed, that s6 to read a
great deal would be a sure preventive of “ much writing ; because almost every one
might find all he has to say already writ"6
ten.' The Author feels the truth of this observation; and does not doubt, that had his own reading been extensive, this present volume would never have appeared. Why then, under this consciousness, did he venture upon such a work ?
He answers, simply because of the possibility of doing good in a situation, in which, if any good may be done, the benefit may be general; while he thinks it
hardly possible for
any loss or injury to fall elsewhere, than upon himself singly. It is probable, that in reality nothing can be said (of that which is sound or valuable) which has not been said before; the presumption against any thing perfectly novel would be, in the first instance, that it was either weak or erroneous. Yet, while this acknowledgment ought certainly to exempt him from the charge of being a despiser of authorities, he cannot but think, that much is lost to the cause of true religion by mere following of authorities; and that a too scrupulous fear of going counter to established opinion (which fear he conceives to be a natural result of much, and the deepest reading) tends to restrain independent thought; and leads insensibly to the error of identifying Scripture itself with human interpretations of it.
Under such impressions he has been led to think, that one of the best chances (humanly speaking) of contributing—not new, but fresh support to the cause of truth, is likely to be found—in the confessions (if this term has not been too much desecrated by some irreverent applications of