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of the New Testament, our conception is either false or incomplete.

The series of Lectures of which this is the third, may be regarded as taking the place of another series, known as the CONGREGATIONAL LECTURE, which commenced in the year 1833, and which was suspended about 1860. The third Lecture in the earlier series was also on the Atonement. delivered in the Congregational Library, exactly forty years ago, by the late Rev. Joseph Gilbert, of Nottingham, who was one of the most learned and thoughtful theologians among the Congregational ministers of his time. I read and re-read Mr. Gilbert's Lectures at a time when my own theological convictions were unformed. How much I am indebted to them it would be difficult to say. They always seemed to me singularly judicious and able.

To my friends the Rev. Dr. Henry Allon, the Rev. J. G. Rogers, the Rev. Professor Simon, and Professor Massie, I am under obligations of various kinds. That Dr. Allon and Mr. Rogers, notwithstanding their own heavy engagements, should have been good enough to assist me in the irksome task of revising the proofs of this volume, calls for my most grateful acknowledgments.

Three or four paragraphs which appeared in two articles on the Atonement, published in the British

xii

Quarterly Review for October, 1866, and October, 1867, have been transferred to the text of these Lectures. Should any of my readers notice this fact, they must be good enough to accept my assurance that, in making use of the British Quarterly · articles, I am not guilty of plagiarism.

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R. W. DALE.

BIRMINGHAM,

May 6, 1875.

PREFACE TO
THE SEVENTH EDITION.

IN

N issuing the Seventh Edition of these Lectures I

wish to express my grateful sense of the singular kindness which I have received from my reviewers. It has been my fortune to be involved in some angry ecclesiastical and political controversies, but those to whom I have been opposed in these conflicts have been as generous in their appreciation of this volume as those with whom I have been allied. I also feel it a duty to acknowledge that reviewers who not only reject the Theory of the Atonement which is illustrated in the last three Lectures, but deny the Fact which I have attempted to illustrate in the first six, have treated my argument with a courtesy and consideration which are not too common in theological discussions.

The criticisms which have reached me on the general object and method of the book, and on some of its main positions, suggest explanations which may, perhaps, correct some misapprehensions of my meaning, and which may lessen, if they do not remove, some of the difficul. ties which the Lectures themselves have failed to touch. After discussing criticisms, I shall attempt to re-state, in a form which may possibly make it more intelligible and acceptable to some of my readers, the Theory of the Atonement which I have attempted to construct in Lectures VIII., IX., and X.

1.-What these Lectures assuine.

In a kindly notice by Mr. William Henry Simcox, in the “ Academy” for July 15, 1876, he says that,

“The volume may be best described as a reply to a tendency among liberal Evangelicals—while retaining their belief in Christ's divinity on the one side, and in Justification by Faith on the other ---to explain away the doctrine of the Atonement in which the two meet."

And he adds that

"Interesting as it is to learn which are the theological doctrines which have the firmest hold on the consciousness of Evangelical Christians exposed to the solvent of liberal thought, it can hardly be expected that the controversy can last long within these bounds, nor can a discussion confined within them have a permanent interest."

I was not aware that I had assumed that

my

readers believed in the doctrine of Justification by Faith. I am conscious, indeed, that this great doctrine so com. pletely penetrates the whole system of my religious thought, is so inseparable from my fundamental conception of the relation of God to the human race, is sc active and energetic a force in my religious life, that I can easily imagine that Mr. Simcox may recognise its presence in many passages where I had no intention either to assert or to imply it. The doctrine appears, as a matter of course, in the summary contained in Lecture VI. of St. Paul's argument in the Epistle to the Romans. I should find it impossible to summarise that argument without claiming St. Paul's authority for the great doctrine of the Reformation. But this doctrine is not, so far as I know, one of the assumptions of the Lectures. To a man who rejects the doctrine of our Lord's Divinity, the whole argument of the Lectures is useless; but I venture to think that the argument is not useless to a man who merely rejects the doctrine of Justification by Faith. I can even conceive and hope that the argument may lead him to accept the doctrine.

It is true, no doubt, that in writing the Lectures, the men who were most distinctly and vividly present to my mind were those who have been trained under Evangelical influences, but whose faith in the Atonement has given way under the solvent of what is described as “liberal” thought. And yet I hoped that I might be able to reach some who are hostile to Evangelicalism both by tradition and by conviction-some who regard Evangelical theologians with suspicion and contempt, and to whom the general scheme of Evan.

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