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“ WHAT is grand and substantial, says Quintilian, pleases long; while that, which is only neat and handsome, charms for a while, but soon cloys *.” Now, what can be imagined more grand and substantial, than to contemplate the great Creator of the universe, in his visible works? to view, in this vast volume, which lies always open, bis infinite power, wisdom, and goodness, and admire the instances thereof, that appear always new and astonishing ? Again, what can be more agreeable and sublime, than, turning our eyes to

* Quæ solida et ampla sunt diu placent ; quæ autem lepida et concinpa, paululum quidem mulcent, sed cito satiant. Fab. Quinta

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the great mysteries of revealed religion, to read with wonder and delight what is contained in the sacred scriptures, concerning the Saviour and Redeemer of the human race, from the dreadful gulph of death and misery, into which they had fallen ; to review with attention what is therein discovered, with regard to our highest happiness, the rewards of virtue, and the punishment of an impious life; and to have these important matters deeply impressed upon the heart? These truths, however great and interesting, are laid before thee, pious and Christian Reader, in these Theological Dissertations; where thou wilt find them deduced with great learning, explained with clearness and accuracy, and confirmed by powerful arguments. For our author, now in heaven *, who while he lived, was equally remarkable for learning and piety, never used to stray beyond the verge of this divine system.

That these remains of his were the sacred lectures he read in the Public Hall of the University of Edinburgh, while he was principal of that university, will admit of no manner of

ομακαριτης. .

doubt: there are a great many still alive, who can attest this truth; as they were themselves present at these lectures, to their great satisfaction and improvement. They all heard them, some took notes of them; and, it is to be hoped, some had the substance of them powerfully impressed upon their hearts. To these I appeal, and to them, I doubt not, this work will be very acceptable ; since those instructions, which

gave so much pleasure, when heard but once, and that in a cursory manner, they may now have recourse to as often as they please; they may

read them at their leisure, and draw from them matter of most delightful meditation. And, to be sure, those who have the least divine disposition of mind, will make it the principal business of their life, and their highest pleasure, to stray through those delightful gardens, abounding with such sweet and fragrant flowers, and refresh their hearts with the celestial honey that may be drawn from them ; nor is there any ground to fear that such supplies will fail ; for how often soever you have recourse to them, you will always find them blooming full of juice, and swelled with the dew of heaven ; nay, when by deep and continued meditation, you imagine you

have pulled the finest flower, it buds forth again, and what Virgil writes concerning his fabulous golden bough is, in strictest truth, applicable in this case.

Uno avulso, non deficit alter,
Aureus.

The Lectures I now present thee with, I caused to be copied out fair from a manuscript in the author's own hand-writing; which was a work that required great care and attention, on account of the blots and interlineations of that original manuscript ; for the author had written them in haste, and without the least thought of ever publishing them. This done, at the desire of a great many, I got them printed, and now lay them before the public, in the same order in which they were read, as far as can be recollected from circumstances.

You must not expect to find in these truly sacred lectures, the method commonly used in theological systems ; for while our reverend author clearly explains the doctrines of religion, he intermixes to excellent

the principles of piety, and while he enlightens the un

purpose

derstanding, he at the same time warms the heart.

Being to treat of religion, he uses a practical method, which is most suitable to his subject, and begins with happiness, that being the scope and design of religion, as well as the ultimate end of human life. He begins with an explanation of happiness in general, on which he treats at some length; then proceeds to consider the happiness of man, which may be called perfect and truly divine, as it has for its object the infinitely blessed and perfect Being who created him, and formally consists in the beatisic vision and fruition of him, which is reserved in heaven for those, who by faith are travelling through this earth, towards that blessed country. He adds, with great propriety, that happiness, so far as it is compatible with this wretched life of sorrows, consists in true religion, and in religion alone ; not only as it is the way which leads directly to that perfect happiness reserved in heaven; but because it is itself of divine original, and, in reality the beginnings of that very happiness, which is to be perfected in the life to come.

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