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your talents and character, because I know that such expression would not be agreeable to you. I shall only state my earnest wish, that your usefulness may be prolonged as a blessing to the most important interests of our country. I remain, with affectionate regard,
MY DEAR SIR,
Very sincerely yours,
June 8, 1838.
The design of this Work being to furnish a Text-book, on the Evidences of Divine Revelation, to students in the literary and philosophical classes in this University, it has been composed by the Author with a special view to this important object. He felt it necessary to combine comprehensiveness with brevity; to give a complete view of the evidences of the truth and divine authority of the Old Testament and the New, in as narrow a compass as is consistent with the elucidation of the numerous topics to which reference must necessarily be made in such a work.
The most effectual, indeed the only effectual, method of conducting the studies of young men, who have not yet completed the curriculum of arts, in the Evidences of Divine Revelation, is, to combine regular examination on a text-book with such additional and familiar illustrations as the teacher may deem it necessary to give. By devoting a very moderate portion of time weekly to this exercise, during the currency of two sessions, considerable knowledge may be acquired in this important branch of a Christian and liberal education.
In the First Book in this volume, the necessity, desirableness, and probability of a Divine Revelation are briefly stated and demonstrated. In the Second Book are some general observations regarding the nature and principles of Christian evidence. The Third comprehends the various topics connected with the genuineness, authenticity, and integrity of the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments. The Fourth Book treats of the divine authority of the Old Testament. The Fifth, of the evidence for the divine authority of the New.
The Work, though complete so far as it goes, does not embrace some very important, and even essential, branches of Christian evidence. It does not include, in the first place, the internal evidence; nor, in the second place, the auxiliary evidences; nor, in the third place, the views which are received regarding the canonical authority of the different books of the Bible; nor, in the fourth place, the proofs of the plenary inspiration of the Holy Scriptures. Articles were prepared on these different subjects, and were to a considerable extent in the hands of the printer, when it was found that the insertion of them in this volume would increase the size to a very in. convenient extent.
They must, therefore, form a necessary Sequel to “The Evidences of Divine Revelation.”
In the mean time, the volume which is now presented to the public will be found useful, it is hoped, not only to students in our Universities, and especially to that class of students for whose use it is more immediately designed, but also to the more advanced pupils in the higher seminaries of learning.
I would also suggest to parents the propriety, and the great advantage, of devoting a portion of time weeklyperhaps on the evening of the Sabbath, to the instruction of their children in the evidences of the truth and divine authority of Christianity. Is it not an error in the general system of education in this country, that while the truths of the Christian religion are taught with commendable diligence, the reasons why those truths should be believed are so seldom taught? Though we should not rest satisfied with the mere knowledge of the grounds of our faith, it is, on every account, proper that we should be so well acquainted with these grounds as to be able to give an - answer to every man that asketh us a reason of the hope that is in us with meekness and fear.
As to the propriety and importance of giving instructions in the Evidences of Christianity to the students attending the literary and philosophical classes in the Universities, there are few, it is presumed, who entertain any doubt. No man can be liberally educated who is
unacquainted with this important branch of knowledge. - Irrespectively of the divine authority, the grounds on
which Christianity claims to be a miraculous interposition of the Deity form a class of phenomena of which no man should be ignorant, and ignorance of which in any person who professes a knowledge of letters and of science
is disreputable. ts, No man disapproves more highly than I do of obstruct» ing the path of knowledge and of academical honours to
any class of the community by tests of religious belief. But the communicating of instruction, in regard to the Evidences of Divine Revelation, cannot be viewed in this light. The question is not, What do you believe? but the question is, What do you know? If it be.proper to ask this latter question of all who obtain academical honours in regard to heathen mythology, is it unreasonable or unbecoming that it should be propounded to them in respect to the grounds of the Christian faith? What is there in this to offend the conscience of any man, whether he be a heathen, a Jew, a Mohammedan, or an infidel? There is just as little in it to offend the scrupulous conscience of any human being as there is in the instructions given by the Professor of Moral Philosophy concerning the doctrines and duties of Natural Theology,-instructions to which, of course, no one has ever thought of objecting