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The following Discourses were delivered before the University of Cambridge, in the year 1827, at the Lecture founded by the Rev. John Hulse; and are now published, in compliance with the terms of his Will.
The nineteenth Psalm has been adopted as the model for the arrangement of the first twelve Lectures.
The first four treat of some of the more
obvious proofs of Divine Power and Wisdom, suggested by the study of Astronomy. It was originally my intention to have added, in the Appendix, an explanation of some of the less familiar circumstances, to which allusion is made in these Lectures. But further consideration shewed, that to carry this into effect would require a treatise of far greater length, than the limited time allowed for publication would permit me to prepare. I have, consequently, been obliged to presume, that the
reader is acquainted with those facts, and with the consequences which flow from the law of gravitation; and have, in most instances, referred to works which treat upon the subjects in question. In the Appendix will be found, a brief notice of the Hindu systems of Chronology, and of a few other points, to which a reference is made in the fourth Lecture.
The eight following Lectures treat, in the order of the Psalm, of the advantages of revealed religion, the proofs by which it is established, and the duties it is designed to teach. The remaining eight Lectures are of a miscellaneous nature.
In retiring from the office of Hulsean Lecturer, I may be permitted to join with my predecessors in the hope, that some modification may be made in the arduous duties which are now required. The labour of preparing twenty Lectures for preaching and publication, in the course of a year, is too great to allow the Lecturer sufficient time for care in the composition, and for revising what he has written. If the delivery of the Lectures
be considered a matter of importance, it is far from desirable that it should take place on the Friday morning; a time, when the attendance of the University is generally prevented by other necessary engagements. Neither is it to be expected, that the University pulpit can be appropriated to these Lectures, on the Sunday afternoon, during the great portion of the academical year which they occupy.
It would be presumption in me to suggest the most eligible means of enabling the Lecturer more effectually to fulfil the spirit of the Founder's Will: but all, who consider the duties of his office, will acknowledge that some change is necessary, either in the number of Lectures required, or in the time allowed previous to publication.