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PREFACE

TO THE AMERICAN EDITION.

Very few words are needful to introduce the present edition of the following work. The sole reason of its republication here, lies in the deliberate conviction which the editor entertains, of its being a far more faithful exhibition of Gospel truth than any other work which has ever come to his knowledge. The name of its author has long been under reproach, and will probably so continue to be, while the memory of these letters shall endure. The reader will be at no loss to discern the cause of this result. Should he dislike the general scope of the work, no skill could avail probably to justify to his estimation the severity of censure, which SANDEMAN saw fit to indulge towards the most venerated names of his day. Should he, however, believe and love the truth maintained in the work, he will probably see little to regret in it, on this or any other score. One eminent advantage, at least, which the controversial character of the work gives it, is, that none of its intelligent readers can complain of being kept in doubt, as to any of the author's sentiments in regard to the great principles of Gospel truth. By tracing out what he esteems the corruptions of the Gospel, in the hands of the popular preachers and writers, and contrasting with each the full light of the unadulterated truth, he has made it very easy for any one to obtain a complete understanding of his meaning. The editor is far from sure that this desirable end,

, --so especially desirable in books which concern the highest interests of man,-would have been so well accomplished without the peculiar feature now alluded to. Had SANDEMAN been content to set forth the positive truth, without at all bringing into view its negative aspect, he might possibly have failed such is the listlessness of readers generally-in attracting attention to those distinctive features of the truth, in which its peculiar adaptedness to man's actual condition appears, and in which, likewise, the plainest discoveries are made of the real nature of that enmity to God, under which we all lie. Because the doctrines maintained in the work migh

seem to be evangelical, and many of the writer's terms might correspond with those of religious books generally, the majority of readers would have supposed it just what they had read and heard a thousand times, and have given just as little beed to it as they had to all that had gone before. This idea is strengthened by the reception which a work, having a precisely similar end, but a different manner of reaching it, has recently met with from the religious public. The work referred to is Dr. Russell's Letters, lately republished in Philadelphia, and furnished with an introduction by the Rev. Mr. Boardman. There are probably no two sentiments of any moment at variance in these two works, and yet one is highly lauded in mouths, which are unsparing in condemnation of the other. The writer has heard it asserted—by those too who would be sorry to be accounted dull theologians—that there is no perceptible disagreement between the sentiments of Russell, and the great mass of publications which have issued from the Presbyterian Church; and Mr. Boardman himself would seem, from a passage in his preface, to have left it questionable, whether even he has observed any material difference between them and the writings of Doddridge and others, which are so current in the churches. Dr. RUSSELL has seen fit to withhold all express declarat ons of such difference, leaving it to be found out by those whom it arrests, and for a time at least has therefore avoided—though the writer is far from imputing this as a motive to him—the reproach of such as are hostile to it. The explana. tion of the difference in the reception which these two works, --so iden. tical in their great general purpose, and strain of sentiinent-have met with at the hands of those who may be presumed to have seen their accordance, is to be found perhaps in that principle of our nature, which leads us lo tolerate every error, which does not pointedly and directly impugn our own favourite maxims, and to be intolerant only towards intolerance. Dr. Russell holds sentiments which are eschewed by all the standard writers of his church, and the vast bulk comparatively of its communion, but has not thought it his duty to carry his difference (fundamental as he admits it to be between individuals) to the point of separation. SandEMAN entertaining the same difference, sought in another communion a more cordial fellowship the truth, and of course stood condemned by all whom he deserted.

New-York, July, 1838.

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