« ForrigeFortsæt »
INQUIRY WITH A VIEW TO A SATISFACTORY DETERMINATION
DOCTRINE TAUGHT IN THE HOLY SCRIPTURES
THE PERSON OF CHRIST.
JOHN PYE SMITH, D.D.
IN THREE VOLUMES.
“A Deo discendum est quid de Deo intelligendum sit: quia nonnisi »
auctore cognoscitur." HILARIUS.
IMPROVED AND ENLARGED.
JACKSON AND WALFORD,
18, st. PAUL'S CHURCH-YARD;
HATCHARD AND SON, PICCADILLY ; J. H. PARKER, OXFORD ; AND
T. STEVENSON, CAMBRIDGE.
In again bringing before the public the work on which I rest my chief hope of usefulness, my first duty is an humble and grateful acknowledgment to the Almighty and most Merciful One, for the degree of acceptance with which it has been favoured. That the faith of some Christians has been strengthened, and that others have been preserved from falling into the system of error whose plausibility had nearly imposed upon them, cannot but be to me a subject of the most encouraging reflection.
It would be affectation to say, that I deem this book a small and feeble contribution to the cause of religious knowledge. Had I thought it such, I should have been highly culpable for troubling the public with it. In the subject which it treats, I was led by personal circumstances and connexions to take much interest, from an early period of life. Its composition and improvement, notwithstanding many interruptions, have been a principal occupation during many
my best years. It was begun with an apprehensiveness against irrational prepossessions, over-statement of premises, and excess in conclusions ; amounting to jealousy, and by some censured as a blameable timidity. Of this caution, however, even if it has been redundant, I do not repent. In proportion to the solicitude and tardiness of the process, has been the satisfactory character of the result. I should be faithless to the most serious convictions, were I not to profess my belief that these volumes contain a body of proof, not invented by an erring mortal, but elicited from the records of Divine Revelation, in favour of the ancient and common faith of Christians; a body of proof, which can never be overthrown, and which time, so far from impairing, will but the more confirm and extend.
From the intellectual character of the age, and the tendency which providence is manifestly giving to the minds of men, in our own and other countries, I
venture to draw auspicious conclusions, with regard to the elucidation of religious truth, and its liberation from the combinations of weakness and illusion, by which its evidence has been obscured, its character mistaken, and the objections of its opponents clothed with apparent validity. Never has the principle been so well understood, never so extensively admitted, that, with regard to the concerns of religion, AUTHORITY, in the sense of dictating belief and commanding obedience, belongs to GOD ALONE; and that the declaration of this authority is to be found only in his revealed word.
The glorious Reformers, whatever might be their infirmities (for they were men, not angels,) earned the gratitude of all future time, by their exhibition of this principle; and by their demonstration of another, which ought never to have been separated from it, that only by a rigorously faithful interpretation of the terms of Scripture, only by a pure and inflexible use of the common means for that interpretation, can religious truth be restored to its honours, and be recommended to universal acceptance. Learned and pious members of the Papal Church itself, are now openly proclaiming this principle, and are acting