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PERHAPS it is too much to expect that no critical eye will scan the following pages, and therefore the writer may be excused for offering a few words in explanation of his purpose and his plan. As to the latter, its alphabetical character may be open to objection ; yet the writer deems it the best he could have adopted for his purpose. Although a theological or topical arrangement might seem, at first sight, to have much to recommend it, practically it would be found to bring with it more disadvantages. While a hap-hazard or casual arrangement, (if such a thing can be,) would be worse still.
Then, as to the List of Subjects, the author does not regard his summary as a perfect enumeration, however carefully he has endeavoured to render it so. But it scarcely admits of a doubt, that if one were to select any dozen Bible students, and ask them to prepare from the sacred pages a catalogue of Titles and Symbols of our Lord, no two of them would arrive at precisely the same results. On this point, therefore, perhaps the writer may reasonably expect the indulgence of his readers. If he has collated too many, such as are deemed unwarranted can be rejected; if he has unwittingly omitted any, the fault may be as easily remedied. It will be seen that while some of the subjects are more fully elucidated, others are merely touched upon. This became necessary in order to avoid undue repetition and extension ; but the Titles and Similitudes, thus cursorily noticed, are more fully explained under some analogous head.
It will be obvious that the book is not written for persons of great reading and education ; but that it has an aspect rather towards another class. In preparing these pages, he has endeavoured to imagine himself with a senior Sunday-school Bible class; or with such a gathering as is usual at a mothers' meeting, or town missionary's cottage service. Or, again, he has supposed himself addressing such an assemblage as very often constitutes a household. Indeed it was with an eye to this last that he fixed on that part of the title,—“A Year's Sunday Readings."
Suppose then a household gathered together on a Sabbath evening for the purpose of holding a domestic service. There would be the children, elder and younger. These demand, if the subject be not wholly appro
priated to them, that, at least, they should not be repelled by what is altogether above their comprehension. They should rather be attracted by an admixture of what is entertaining and pictorial. There are the servants, who have been indulged with but few advantages of education, and possess but little time for reading. These require something, which, while it is instructive, shall be both simple and direct. Then there are also the two or three older persons at the head of the family-the parent, the grandmother, the aunt; who, for the sake of the rest, will not resent an occasional excess of the colloquial and the familiar.
Without professing to divide a portion equally to each of these, the author has endeavoured 30 to write, that the younger ones should not have to complain that the reading is heavy and dry, nor the elder ones that, with its lessons and inferences, it is too trivial to benefit them. In exploring such subjects, there may be found many a shallow place through which the young and tender may be led, where “ the water is to the ankles.” But there must be also, in the nature of the case, many a deeper plunge,—“ waters to swim in, a river that cannot be passed over.”
Having done his best in following out the plan selected, the writer must commit his work to that special Providence which extends to books as well as to their writers and readers, with the prayer, that if not very extensively appropriated to the purposes indicated, it may be made useful wherever it has an errand. In the days wherein the Person, Mission, and Character of our Lord,-and it may be added, more particularly His Atonement,-are very irreverently, not to say profanely handled by many, he trusts this contribution of “Sunday Readings” on the great subject, may inform some, fortify others, and benefit all who become acquainted with its contents.
Part of the work was published several years ago, in a somewhat different form and under a different title, and has been through two editions. And part of it has never seen the light, although the manuscript has been in existence a considerable time.
The writer has not altogether followed his own impulse in sending this work to the press, but has been repeatedly urged to do so by those who have made a considerable use of the part already published, -in Sunday schools—in families -and in cottage readings and lending libraries amongst the poor,—and who bear encouraging testimony to its usefulness.
The whole has been revised, and much of it re-written and re-arranged. In its completed form it is now sent forth with the author's prayers, and the prayers of many others, for the Divine blessing on its circulation. May He who distinguished the voluntary offerer of a box of precious ointment with the kind commendation, “She hath done what she could,” in like manner graciously own this “labour of love," and make use of it to render His Name pleasant and attractive, “ like ointment poured forth."
Thus far the preface to the former edition. That being exhausted, a new edition, revised and extended, is sent forth upon its travels. It is printed in type two sizes larger than the last, and on larger paper. More than forty fresh pages have been incorporated with the work ; and twenty or thirty additional Titles or Symbols introduced ; (the enlargement having been effected without increase of price.) Touching a few of these, (and some others before included,) the writer ventures to add a word or two. He does not claim to be a theologian. He therefore asks the forbearance of the critical reader, (his forgiveness indeed,) if he has seemed to transgress the more rigid axioms of theological exegesis. But there is a certain latitude into which it is hardly possible not occasionally to glide, induced by the peculiar position of Christ in the Trinity, and His compound nature. Especially since in theology (as in other sciences) there have not yet been discovered those hard and fast lines of exact definition of which all are in quest.
Jesus Christ is the Representative of the Father, and of the Godhead. Some expressions, therefore, which are supposed to be peculiar to the Father, are in the Scriptures appropriated to the Son,-thus He is The Everlasting Father. Characteristics regarded as applicable alone to the entire Godhead are used in describing Him,-thus He is called The Only Wise God. Again, He is at once The Image of the Invisible God, and, as to the inscrutablenesss of His Deity, Himself is Invisible also. If then the writer has seemed to err in the direction indicated, perhaps he may be allowed to shelter such instances under the more comprehensive term, Symbols.
As to the three compound Titles, Jehovah-jireh, Jehovah-nissi, Jehovahshalom, two out of the three, it must be remembered, are connected with One Who personates God, speaks in the first person, and in other respects comports Himself as only Jehovah could be supposed to do. The highest angel, Gabriel himself, (if he it is who occupies that lofty pre-eminence,) is infinitely too insignificant to be the Representative of God in any such way. Only He is equal to it Who is at once Jehovah and Jehovah's Messenger. It is not therefore on the footing of inference or argument merely, but on the foundation of fact, that the appropriation of the Titles, Jehovah-jireh and Jehovah-shalom, to the Lord Jesus Christ, is claimed to rest.
The writer has added a few personal Types of our Lord. Not all that are claimed. He would not have known where to stop. For it is difficult to draw a line, and say positively what is, or what is not, typical, in histories which are, as Dr. Dykes expresses it, “Saturated throughout with gospel meanings."
For instance, both the nativity of Isaac, and that of Samson, were fore-announced to their parents by an Angel. This of itself suffices to lift them both irto significant prominence. And while the former, in his