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Ν Ο ΤΕ. . TAE Author claims no merit; he asks for no praise; therefore will not his faults and imperfections be looked upon by the Reader with a lenient eyd and a kindly spirit? Should the critic be severe, it will be felt; should the Volume itself prove a failure, it will bring sad but silent disappoint. ment to one who, while he entertained none of those glowing expectations which so often attend upon the issue of one's first volume, had hoped to do some little good.
As the publication of a small volume of original sermons by one of our home preachers, for distribution by the traveling agents of the Lake Erie Missionary Society, was very generally desired, the Author was solicited to furnish the matter for such & volume. In complying with this solicitation be selected from the Mss. that he had on hand, written during the first year of his ministry and preached in the ordinary ministrations of the pulpit, such sermons as he thought would prove the most useful and give the best satisfaction to the friends of the Cause within the limits of the Association. Had he been anxious solely for a literary reputation he would have made a somewhat different selection; but in that case the Volnme would have been less polemic and consequently, in the Section for which it is intended, less valuable. In a section of country like this, where in many townships our blessed Doctrine has been but recently promulgated, and where the opposition is sometimes fierce and ven. omous, polemical sermons, written in a plain and fearless manner, are the most useful and effective.
The Reader will occasionally observe a lack of symmetry and an abruptness of transition, for which the Author makes apology by stating that many passages were cut out, and sometimes entire heads even, in order that a given number of sermons might be embraced in the Volume which was restricted to a certain number of pages.
It is intended that one-third of the sum raised from the sale of the Volume, by its agents, shall go into the Fund of the Association together with whatever pecuniary benefit the Author may receive.
« Thou art Good, and doest Good.”—PSALM cxix, 68.
HE first principles of Theology consist in
believing that there is one eternal, immutable, omnipresent God, the creator, preserver and governor of the Universe; who is an uncreated, self-existent, independent spirit; whose attributes are infinite goodness, wisdom, power, holiness, justice, mercy and truth.
These attributes all harmonize one with another and blend together in the formation of a perfect character—the “One Good.” They are as so many rays, each infinite in reach, centering in the same sun; and because they are infinite, it is impossible for any antagonistic element or elements to exist with them in the same being. They form, therefore, an infallible standard by which to judge of the nature and disposition of him by whom they are possessed, and by which all controverted opinions in Theology are to be tested. Any opinion not in harmony with these attributes is false, and should be discarded.
As we are dependent on God for all we have, and all we are to have throughout the countless ages of eternity, it is of vast importance to us to know his true character and his disposition toward us. Therefore let us make the test by the infallible standard that we have.
If God is infinitely wise and infinitely powerful, it follows that whatever his wiedom in the beginning prompted him to do, that he could do beyond the possible hinderance of any obstacle whatever; and as his wisdom is clothed with goodness, justice and mercy, and as he could see, being omniscient, the end from the beginning, the nature, the tendency and the result of all things, it follows from infinite necessity that whatever is created by him must be good in its contribution to the great final good
If God is omniscient and immutable, he cannot think, for thinking is the act of recalling what is forgotten, or of deliberating upon what is not, but is to be arranged. He is above those revolutions of mind which characterize a finite being. Moreover with his infinite attributes, he can act only as he acts in the carrying forward of one great plan. He can have but one plan, and that is infinite. To say that he plans one thing and then plans another, is to imply a succession of ideas. But if there was such a succession he could not be omniscient. The creation of the universe and of man--the sin of our first parents—the deluge of the earth—the exodus of the children of Israel and their occupation of the promised land—the advent of Christ and his death—the invention of the art of printing—the discovery and application of the power of steam—the building of a crystal palace, and I allude to these events as standing out boldly upon the pages of history-are but connected links in, and successive movements toward the accomplishment of, the one great plan. The deeds of nations as well as of individuals, whether we judge them to be good or bad, all concentrate within this plan, like wheels within a wheel. To say that any deed is performed outside of this plan, and independent of it, is to say that that deed was not foreseen by the great Framer. To his eye in his unlimited capacity, every thing from the beginning to the end is present, every act from the most mi
nute to the greatest, its tendency and its ultimate bearing upon the final accomplishment, as to the eye of the skillful watchmaker, in his limited capacity, are the springs and the wheels of the watch that he is making. But while the watchmaker thinks beyond a doubt that the main-spring of his watch will move the wheels and the wheels the hands and that the hands will tell the hour, God knew from all eternity that the main-spring in his great plan would work and how it would work and that all the little wheels and all the great wheels would work and how they would work, and toward what destiny the hands would slowly point. Should the watch-maker, finite and feeble as he is, desirous of making a perfect watch, destroy the harmony and usefulness of his mechanism by adding a wheel too much or one out of proper size and shape, we would have good reason to question his skill, though we might not perhaps be surprised. But what shall we think if the great artisan, the Father of all Spirits, fails of accomplishing his plan according to his purpose? If such a failure occurs, it follows that our belief in his infinite attributes is unfounded, and that his capacity, like that of the poor feeble watch-maker is limited. God, if he