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PREFACE TO THE FIRST EDITION.
THE prevalent theory of the redeeming sufferings affirms that God is impassible, and therefore, limits the sufferings of Christ to his manhood alone. This theory has pervaded Christendom, and stood the test of centuries; yet have we been forced, by scriptural proofs, to the conclusion that it is founded in error, and that the expiatory agonies of our Lord reached both his united natures. That our inquiry is of importance, no Christian will doubt. We have sought in vain for any satisfactory arguments to sustain the prevalent theory. The pulpit, so far as our personal experience extends, has been almost silent on the theme. We have looked into such theological treatises as have fallen within our reach. They abound in reiterations of the averment, “God is impassible;” but, with very few and scanty exceptions, they stop short at the threshold of that specious, yet unsupported dogma. We have betaken ourselves to our Bible. The result of our scriptural investigations will appear in these sheets. Perhaps our humble essay may elicit from abler minds more ample reasons in favour of this ancient and wide-spread theory. If such reasons are drawn fresh and pure from the great scriptural reservoir, we shall readily become their willing convert. We seek not polemic victory; our sole object is the development of TRUTH.
We shall be obliged often to repeat the sacred names of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost; we trust we shall ever do it with becoming awe: if, in any instance, we should fail in this paramount duty, our contrition will be sincere, as our offence will have been unintentional. Nor would we approach our pious and illustrious opponents, dead or living, otherwise than with profound respect. Opposing what we deem their doctrinal error, it is necessary that we should speak with freedom and plainness. The cause of truth seems to require that our argument should sacrifice to false delicacy nothing of its directness. If, in the ardour of discussion, we should utter or intimate anything which may justly be deemed discourteous, it will be to us a subject of lasting regret.
We affix not our name to our unaspiring volume. The omission is not from fear of responsibility. Amenable to the judgment of God, we have no unbecoming dread of the judgment of men; but, in very truth, we believe that our humble name could add nothing to what may possibly be thought the force of our reasoning. Our name is unknown to theological lore. Of the writer it may justly be said, “Along the cool, sequestered vale of life,” He “kept the noiseless tenour of” his “way.”
Should any future exigency invite the disclosure of our name, it will not be withheld.
Whatever may be the fate of this imperfect and brief essay, the writer will retain one consolatory source of reflection. His feeble effort, in every page and in every sentence, will have sought to exalt and magnify the glorious ATONEMENT. If he errs, his error will consist in the attempt to elevate that most transcendent work of the Godhead to a point of awful grandeur, towering even above its scriptural altitude.
PREFACE TO THE SECOND EDITION.
THE Publishers having determined on the issue of another edition of "The Sufferings of Christ by a Layman," the author has availed himself of the opportunity to revise the Work with some care. He has made additions equivalent in quantity to at least one fourth of the original volume; and, without waiving or substantially varying any of the positions assumed by his argument, he has softened some forms of expression which, upon deliberation, appeared to be more startling than the development of truth imperatively required. The author ventures to hope that the revision will render the second edition more worthy of public acceptance than the first.
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