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If Christianity be what it claims to be—the only religion that supplies an antidote to human guilt, or restores the purity of human nature, it becomes a matter of infinite moment to every individual to understand the grounds on which it rests and the truths which it reveals. And as errour is dangerous in proportion as truth is valuable, it is no less important that we distinguish accurately between the one and the other; that we do not recognise as the legitimate offspring of Heaven, systems which have had their origin in the blindness of human Reason, or the seductive influence of human depravity. The following Lectures are designed to secure this double object; to bring out True Christianity in its glorious attractions, and especially to exalt it by a comparison with other systems which have stood
forth against it in the attitude of opposition or rivalry, and to erect a barrier against the reception of those other systems, by exhibiting them as miserably defective on the one hand, and grossly erroneous on the other.
It has been found impossible, in the prosecution of this plan, wholly to avoid repetition; nor has it been thought desirable even to attempt it. As the same general views of Christianity stand opposed to various forms of errour, these views have necessarily been introduced in different discourses with such modifications as the nature of the subject seemed to demand. The design has been, so far as was consistent with the prescribed limits of the work, to render the discussion of each topick complete in itself.
It was the intention of the author originally to have referred to particular authorities for the various facts which are introduced in several of these Lectures; and he has been deterred from doing so only by having found that they are so much the common property of almost all the writers by whom these subjects have been treated, that, so far as he knew, they might with as good reason be credited to one as to another. In the Lecture on Mohamedism there will be found some coincidence with the general train of thought in White's Bampton
Lectures ; but, while the author refers to that work as authority for some of the particular facts which he has presented, it is due to himself to state that the whole outline of the Lecture in its present form had been prepared before the book fell into his hands. In the Lecture on Romanism he has availed himself more particularly of one or two small, but invaluable, works by the Rev. Thomas Hartwell Horne, whose researches in various departments of Biblical learning and Ecclesiastical History, have laid the church under deep and perpetual obligation. In the Lecture on Antinomianism he was not a little embarrassed from the Protean character of that heresy, or rather from the different degrees in which it is found to exist; but he became convinced upon reflection, that the only form in which it could be successfully encountered was that of a distinct and fully developed system. Those who will look into Andrew Fuller's writings on this subject will perceive that this was the form in which it existed in England in his time; and the author has been assured by several gentlemen of great intelligence who have been conversant with it both in Great Britain and in our own country, that the views which are here presented are fully justified by the results of their personal observation.
These Lectures were originally delivered in the hearing of the congregation with which the author is more immediately connected; and they are now given to the world in the hope that, by the blessing of God, they may form some humble defence against the seductions of errour, while they serve to illustrate the claims, and extend the influence, of
Albany, April 12th, 1837.
CHRISTIANITY CONTRASTED WITH ATHEISM.
ROMANS 1. 16.
IN CONNEXION WITH
EPHESIANS 11. 12.
Without God in the world. | From the former of these passages we learn in what estimation Christianity was held by the great Apostle of the Gentiles. Aud when we remember who the Apostle was, and what he had been, and what were the circumstances in which he made this triumphant declaration, it is impossible to consider it otherwise than as a most decisive testimony to the divinity of our religion. You all know that he was one of the most gifted and accomplished men of his age; that he had once regarded Christianity with utter abhorrence, and hunted its votaries to prison and to death;—and yet that all his prejudices against it had melted away under the experience he had had of its transforming power, and a desire to vindicate its honours and extend its influence had become the ruling pas ·sion of his heart. Hence we find that, in the prospect