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The origin and reason of the present publication are so fully detailed in the first and second Discourses, that I deem it unnecessary to make any further extracts from Mr. Hulse's Will. In future
may be incumbent on the Lecturer to do so; but at present it is only requisite to state why this is the first series of Discourses which has ever been either preached or published in pursuance of Mr. Hulse's bequests, although he died so long ago as 1789. One principal reason, among many others, I believe to have been this : that the proceeds of his estates were not at an earlier period sufficient to repay the Preacher for the expense of printing, much less to remunerate him for the anxious labour of composing twenty Discourses fit to be delivered before such an audience, and afterwards submitted to the criticisms of the world. Even at present, the whole emoluments of the office are nearly absorbed by the printer's bills, and little is left to the Lecturer, but the consciousness of labouring in an honourable appointment, and if not successfully, at least in a good and holy cause.
The Volume now laid before the Public, may be divided into three parts.
1. The first two Discourses are merely introductory, and were printed some time ago, for the reasons specified in the Appendix. They consist of a few preliminary remarks, and a slight sketch of the life and bequests of Mr. Hulse (in the first); and of a more lengthened detail, and examination of the duties of the Hulsean Lecturer or Christian Preacher (in the second Discourse).
2. The eleven following Discourses, from the third to the thirteenth, inclusive, are occupied with considerations upon the Evidences of Christianity. This is the first subject pointed out by Mr. Hulse to the attention of the preacher, and neither “the signs of the times," nor the order of religious inquiries seemed to admit of such a subject. being forgotten at the present moment, . In treating a question so often and ably investi
gated, it has been my object to systematize, what we may call, the evangelical Demonstration, and to arrange its parts so as to give them their proper application, and their greatest force. The works of most writers either mistake, or do not point out at all, what is the peculiar office of each branch of evidence. Even the work of Paley (I mention it because so much and deservedly studied) establishes the credibility of the Messengers, rather than estimates the sufficiency of their testimony, and speaks only in general terms of the argument from miracles, the argument from prophecy, and that from the internal frame and constitution of the Gospel, without marking how far and to what portions of the whole truth of Christianity, each of these arguments may be more directly applied.
Whether I have succeeded in supplying the defect, I must leave with the reader to determine, contenting myself with endeavouring to diminish for him the labour of forming a judgment, by observing that the connected chain of positive evidences is contained in the third, fifth, seventh, and concluding part (from p. 223) of the ninth Discourse. In the passage last mentioned, I have attempted to give a brief summary of the 'mode of arguing, and of its application and power. ': The remaining Discourses of this second part of the series, are employed in meeting objections, and considering some of the collateral arguments in favour of Christianity. To these, of course, those only who feel-or who feel a wish to know the force of the Sceptic's reasonings for infidelity, or suspense of faith, will turn. To the heart, it is not in general a beneficial labour thus to contend in sophistry with an adversary, whatever it may be to the understanding. The feelings of charity are never improved by struggling for, even when you obtain, a mental victory.
3. The last seven Discourses are altogether practical, yet not altogether without method. I have endeavoured to lay down the general mode of attaining salvation (Disc. xiv.); the moral (Disc. xv.), and the religious duties, of a Christian (Disc. xvi. xvii. xviii.); the means of the reconciliation of sinners to God, and the grounds of