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584 BR D54
To delineate the Moral bearings of the Christian Revelation-to display the reasonableness and the excellence of its precepts, and the physical and rational grounds on which they rest,--and to exhibit a few prominent features in the moral aspect of the world,-were some of the principal objects which the Author had in view, in the composition of the following work. He is not aware that a sirnilar train of thought has been prosecuted, to the same extent, by any preceding writer; and is therefore, disposed to indulge the hope, that it may prove both entertaining and instructive to the general reader, and to the intelligent Christian.
It may not be improper to remind the reader that the Author's object simply is, to illustrate the topics he has selected as the subject of this volume. As he has taken his fundamental principles from the system of Revelation, he was under no necessity, as most ethical writers are, to enter into any laboured metaphysical discussions on the foundation of Morality, and the motives from which moral actions should proceed.The truth of Revelation is, of course, taken for granted; and all who acknowledge its Divine authority, will readily admit the principles which form the basis of the system here illustrated. But, although it formed no particular part of the author's plan to illustrate the evidences of the Christian Revelation, he trusts, that the view which is here given of the benignant tendency of its moral requisitions, will form a powerful presumptive argument in support of its celestial origin.
The Christian reader may also be reminded, that it is only the Philosophy of Religion which the Author has attempted to illustrate. It formed no part of his plan to enter into any particular discussion on the doctrines of Revelation, or on those topics which have so frequently been the subject of controversy in the Christian church. It is not to support the tenets of Calvinism, Arminianism, Baxterianism, Arianism, or any other ism which distinguishes the various denominations of the Religious world, that these illustrations are presented to public view ; but to elucidate an object which it appears to be the grand design of Revelation to accomplish, and in the promotion of which, every section of the Christian church is equally interested, and to which they would do well to “ take heed.”—In his illustration of this subject, the Author has kept his eye solely on the two Revelations which the Almighty has given to mankind.
:-THE SYSTEM OF NATURE, and the SACRED RECORDS just as they stand,--without any regard to the theories of philosophers, the opinions of commentators, or the systems of theologians. He is disposed to view the Revelations of the Bible, rather as a series of important facts, from which moral instructions are to be deduced, than as a system of metaphysical opinions for the exercise of the intellect.