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A FEW preliminary words may be said concerning the present volume. The Author has attempted to map out a chart of the Christian life, and to deal in succession with the leading principles of its great departments of Faith and Practice. He has especially attempted to meet some of the difficulties and
perplexities of the present day. Christian life, indeed, is substantially the same in every age of the Church; and nothing is more delightful than the belief that through all the national differences of race and time and country, the Universal Church, knit and banded together, is the Body whereof Christ is the Head. But each age has its peculiar difficulties of detail, and in each age particular doctrines emerge into special controversy.
The writer has endeavoured to deal with these subjects simply and scripturally,
not shrinking, however, from the use of that literary and philosophical language with which, at the present day, men discuss subjects of religious and ethical importance. He cannot but feel how inadequate must be his treatment of so large a subject, and his work has been written with the abiding sense of this inadequacy and unworthiness, and yet with the constant prayer that this foolishness of preaching may be blessed to himself and to the hearts and minds of his readers.
Substantially, much of the present book represents a large part of the Author's pulpit teaching. This section of the work, however, has been altered or revised, or completely re-written. The writer felt that compositions designed for the eye must necessarily and essentially differ from those intended for the pulpit, and knew that the Essay would permit a greater freedom of speech and a larger amount of illustration than would be befitting to the sermon. He has chiefly sought to be practical — always glad to turn aside from matters of difficulty and doubt to what Jeremy Taylor, in the Golden Grove, speaks of as credenda, agenda, postulanda— things to be believed, to be done, to be prayed for. In disputa