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LONDON:
SIMPKIN, MARSHALL, AND COMPANY.
D. MARPLES, LIVERPOOL.

1845.

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PREFACE.

WHEN I commenced writing, it was merely with a view to publishing my reasons for quitting the communion of the Church of England. Having enlarged upon my original intention, I find it necessary to affix to this work a few prefatory observations.

The substance of the work was delivered in a course of lectures to the congregation which lately assembled at St. Matthew's, in this town. This will account for the matter of the few opening pages, which, had I known how far I should have been obliged to exceed my prescribed limits, would have formed of themselves the preface, instead of having a preface written in explanation.

The volume is sent forth into the world as a trifling contribution towards establishing what is much needed - a sound principle of Scripture interpretation. The truth of every statement propounded is by no means contended for. I prefer no claim similar to that of Swedenborg, Irving, and, in fact, all theologians who maintain that the present is a dispensation of the Holy Ghost. I claim not to have received any doctrine through an immediate and miraculous revelation. So far from asserting any thing of the kind, one position strongly taken up by me is, that Scripture is its own interpreter, and that what I have written is only so far valuable as that, in comparing spiritual things with spiritual,' I have brought various portions of the word of God to harmonize, and have shown that the Scriptures are not contradictory, wherever I have had occasion to examine them. It is probable, and more than probable, that some errors in reasoning, and some defects of exposition, may be detected. In the minor details, there may be mistakes; but while making these admissions, I contend most strenuously that there is not a shadow of a shade of error in the conclusion at which I have arrived. I assert in the most positive and distinct manner possible, that the doctrine of a past second advent is proved to a demonstration, and is unassailable. The belief of this doctrine has seriously affected my temporal wellbeing; though I am quite sensible that this is no evidence of its truth, and no excuse for its advocacy if it be untrue. The defence

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