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TO THE FIRST EDITION.
When these Lectures were written, they were not designed for publication, at least not for present publication. I proposed to follow the example of other Lecturers, and, when I had completed the Course, to make the same Lectures serve again and again for every successive audience. For so doing I had this additional inducement, that three years at least must elapse before the whole series of Lectures can be completed, during which time the Young Men of the University, for whom they were principally intended, will have been succeeded by a new generation. And as soon as I had performed the task of writing the Lectures, I could have divided them into a triennial course, commensurate with the usual period of academical study. After all, if I thought it ex. pedient, I had the publication of them in reserve, whenever sickness, or the infirmities of age might prevent me from continuing to deliver them.
Such was my original plan, which I have been induced to abandon by the solicitation of my friends; and it is now my intention to publish every year the Lectures, which have been delivered in that year. I
shall thus lose the advantage, when the present Course is finished, of being provided with a fund for future uses, since Lectures once published can never be delivered again. But this private inconvenience will be amply compensated, if the printing of them affords any benefit to the public. One advantage at least will arise from the present publication of them, namely, that the Young Men, who are now entering on their academical studies, will be thus enabled, before the Lectures are resumed, to make themselves acquainted with the subjects already explained. And even they, who had an opportunity of hearing the Lectures now printed, may find it convenient to have their memories assisted in the recollection of many points, which it is necessary to know, in order to understand the subjects of inquiry in future Lectures. For as the whole Course is intended to form a systematic arrangement, the connexion of the several parts must be constantly kept in view, or the purport of that arrangement will be defeated. These considerations have had the chief influence on my present determination. Nor must I neglect either to mention, or to acknowledge with gratitude, the additional inducement in the liberal offer of the Syndies of the Press to defray the expense of publication.
As these Lectures were delivered in the University Church, it was necessary to adapt the mode of com. position to the place and the audience, for which they were intended. In writing a book, which is designed for private meditation, an author cannot easily be too minute, either in his own researches, or in refer
ences to the works of other authors. In a private Lecture-room, where a Lecturer can occasionally wait while his pupils are taking notes, and where other circumstances compensate for the dryness of his manner, he may likewise be minute in his references, or even produce the authors as he quotes them. But when a Professor is speaking from the University Pulpit, and is addressing a numerous audience, it would be difficult to obtain unremitted attention, if the fluency of his discourse were interrupted by par. ticular references to chapter and section, to volume and page. This inconvenience however is in a great measure remedied by the circumstance, that it is an essential part of my plan to give an account of the principal books in Theology; and these are at the - same time the sources, from which I myself have derived the information contained in the Lectures. Thus, the authors enumerated at the end of the fourth Lecture are the vouchers for that history of Sacred Criticism, during the early and the middle ages, which is given in the third and fourth Lectures. In like manner, when the Criticism of the Greek Testament is finished, an account will be given of the principal authors on that subject, and the same will be done in every other branch. It is true, that many of the quoted works are of considerable size: but since for the most part they are methodically arranged, since many of them are provided with indexes, and others with tables of contents, the particular subjects, for which it may be necessary to consult them, will gen. erally be found without difficulty. Little or no bene- .
fit therefore would have been derived from printing the Lectures in any other form, than that, in which they were delivered. And even without this consid. eration, it would probably be less agreeable to those who so lately heard them, if on reading them there should appear any material difference. Trivial alterations, in regard to single expressions, such as occur to every author, while he is correcting the proof sheets of his work, were of course admitted, as it would be blameable to reject them. But in substance nothing has been altered. I had even printed, at the beginning of the third Lecture, that enumeration of the branches of Divinity, with which I closed the second Lecture, and which were repeated at the beginning of the third, because it was necessary to impress them on the minds of every hearer. But in correcting the proof sheet at p. 49, and on perceiving that the same enumeration, which appears in p. 47, was repeated on the opposite page, I erased the repetition as unnecessary for the reader, though it was necessary for the hearer.
For the reasons already assigned I have retained the exordium of the first Lecture, though it relates to two deviations from the custom of my predecessors, for which only my immediate hearers could require an apology. I have retained also the English translation of French title-pages, which could not with propriety have been given in the original from an English pulpit. French proper names are likewise written, as they are commonly used in England, which is the more necessary, as a departure from this rule would