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LONDON:

PRINTED BY R. GILBERT,

ST. JOHN'S SQUARE.

LIAN

?6.7.1897

LIB

TO

THE RIGHT HONOURABLE

THE EARL OF LIVERPOOL, K.G.

FIRST LORD OF THE TREASURY,
LORD WARDEN OF THE CINQUE PORTS, &c. &c.

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INTRODUCTION.

To discover truth is the best happiness of an individual ; and to communicate it is the greatest blessing he can bestow upon society. Moral and religious truth can only be obtained from the right interpretation of Scripture : and the most effectual means of eliciting that right interpretation, must be to ascertain its primary, or historical meaning. The books of revelation were given to the world at various times, and upon different occasions. Each book was written for some one especial cause. The all-wise providence of God has not imparted his will, as human legislators are compelled to do, in abstract precepts, arbitrary institutions, or metaphysical distinctions. His Revelation is so constructed, that it is interwoven with the history of the world. It is a collection of facts and inferences of narratives and doctrines. To understand the latter, we must acquaint ourselves with the former: and then only shall we perceive that it is equally adapted to all ages and nations, so long as human nature remains the same ; and so long as hope and fear, and joy and sorrow, and evil and good, and sin and holiness, characterise mankind.

The most general cause of religious error is the neglect of this mode of viewing Scripture. The Old and New Testaments, not only in the present day, but in former ages, have been for the most part considered as large reservoirs of texts, or as well-stored magazines of miscellaneous theological aphorisms ; from which every speculative theorist, and

VOL. I.

a

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