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In preparing two or three of the notes, I have availed myself of the kind assistance of some learned and ingenious friends, to whom I feel much indebted; and fully persuaded that had my obligations to them been more frequent and more extensive, my readers would have had cause to be better pleased, it would have been a relief to my mind, as well as a recommendation to my work, had I been warranted to make a more specific acknowledgment.*
* To enable my readers to judge how much they would have gained, had the assistance referred to been more frequent and more extensive, I think it right to state, that the ingenious, and learned, and conclusive argument respecting the meaning of an important passage in Tertullian's “ Apologeticus," in Note XXVIII., and the masterly historical statement and argument, respecting the Annuity Tax, forming the first part of Note XXXII., are the contributions so gratefully acknowledged.
53, ALBANY STREET, January 22, 1838.
THE THIRD EDITION.
It has long been generally felt, that wide as is the range, and rich as are the treasures of our expository and moral literature, a satisfactory interpretation of the law of Civil Obedience, as published by the Apostle Paul in the thirteenth chapter of the Epistle to the Romans, and a clear discriminative statement and enforcement of the duties required by that law, were still wanting. To supply in some measure these desiderata in scriptural exegesis, and Christian ethics, is the object of the principal treatise in the following Volume. How far that object has been gained, it is left with the competent tribunal to decide.
In the present Edition, that Treatise appears, it is hoped, in a somewhat improved form, having been enlarged by the insertion of a few paragraphs, and having undergone that careful revision, which its hurried composition and publication rendered so necessary, but which the short space intervening between the first and second edition afforded no opportunity of giving it. Two Addresses on the Voluntary Church Question, formerly published in another shape, have been appended, and considerable additions have been made to the Notes and Illustrations.
To some, these may appear to have been sufficiently voluminous, in the former editions ; but, for the number and length of the selected notes, which compose a large proportion of the whole, I cannot bring myself to offer an apology; for, without subjecting myself to any hazard of the charge of affected selfdepreciation, I may plainly say, what I well know, that they form by far the most valuable part of the book. They often furnish the evidence of statements made in the text, and at other times present, in extenso, arguments and illustrations, which are there only hinted at, or given in the most condensed form. Many of them will have the charm of novelty to most of my readers, and I shall be glad, if they prove the means of inducing any of them to cultivate a more intimate acquaintance with works, lying somewhat out of the ordinary track of reading, from which (“ Haud inexpertus loquor,") they may derive much pleasure, and some improvement.*
*“ I have been under the necessity, at least, as I thought, of appealing for illustration to writers of all ages and in various languages. There is an appearance of ostentation in it, to which I must submit. I certainly am of opinion, with Casaubon, that it cannot be supposed ' facere aliquid ad veram pietatem aut doctrinam, Græca potius quam alia lingua loqui.'—Exercit. xvi. ad Ann. Ecc. Baronii. Certainly not. But to enforce and illustrate any position, the language of poets, and the dignity and spirit of ancient eloquence and history, in the original
It is satisfactory to perceive that the defenders of the Voluntary principle, as the basis both of the maintenance and of the extension of religion, uphold no sentiment which has not been clearly stated and strongly proved by some of the wisest and best men of former ages, and that they are but performing their part in the obsequies of martyred truth, by laying in decent order some of her “ disjecta membra,” which her“ sad friends” in “ the olden times” have succeeded in collecting. Our task is full of Hope—for we know that when all the parts of the torn body of truth are “ fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth,”
.” “ the spirit of life in Christ Jesus,” will soon reanimate the restored frame : The wonders of the primitive age will be renewed : MAGNA ERIT VERITAS ET PREVALEBIT.*
words, are of no mean assistance.”—Mathias' Pursuits of Literature. Introd. Letter, pp. 25, 26. Lond. 1799.
* The passage in Milton's “ Areopagitica,” to which there is an allusion here, is at once so beautiful and so instructive, that I give it at length. “ Truth indeed came once into the world with her Divine Master, and was a perfect shape most glorious to look on; but when he ascended, and his apostles after him were laid asleep, there strait arose a wicked race of deceivers, who, as the story goes of the Egyptian Typhon, with his conspirators, how they dealt with the good Osiris, took the virgin Truth, hewed her lovely form into a thousand pieces, and scattered them to the four winds. From that time the sad friends of Truth, such as durst appear, imitating the careful search which Isis made for the mangled body of Osiris, went up and down, gathering up limb by limb, still as they could find them. We have not yet found them all, Lords and Commons, nor ever shall do, till her Master's second coming : He shall bring together every joint and member, and shall mould them into an immortal feature of loveliness
It has not been deemed necessary to notice particularly any of the numerous replies * with which the Treatise has been honoured. I reckoned it a point of duty to read and consider them all, a duty which, though from the matter and manner of these replies, somewhat laborious and irksome, has, I trust, been not only of some use to myself, but of some advantage to my work. The result of this consideration is a conviction, that with a single exception, they do not deserve, and without any exception, they do not require, an answer. In none of them is the argument respecting the payment of tribute fairly met-and
and perfection. Suffer not these licensing prohibitions, to stand at every place of opportunity forbidding and disturbing them that continue to do our obsequies to the torn body of our martyred saint.”— Milton's Works vol. i. p. 156. Fol. Lond. 1758.
* In the course I have pursued, I have acted according to the following most judicious advice, which is as appropriate as if it had been meant for my special guidance :-"A writer publishes his sentiments on a controverted point in politics or theology, and supports them by the best arguments in his power. A hot-headed champion rises on the opposite side, who in print styles his notions impious or seditious, his arguments trivial and absurd, insults his person, vilifies his sense and learning, and imputes to him the worst motives. What matter is there in all this for an answer? The writer does not mean to disavow his opinions, because an opponent thinks ill of them. His arguments are not refuted by the abuse of one who, perhaps from incapacity or ignorance, is utterly unable to comprehend them. Of his sense and learning he has constituted the public his judges by the act of publication, and to their judgment at large he appeals. His motives can only be known to his own heart; and asserting them to be good, will no more convince his enemies, than the contrary assertion has convinced his friends. If, therefore, he has obtained from nature to exercise a due command of temper, he will preserve a dignified silence, till an attack of some other kind summons him to the