In preparing to commit this series of Lectures to the judgment of the public, the Author cannot refrain from mentioning those circumstances connected with their composition, which may, in some measure, claim for them a more indulgent consideration. His name was not originally proposed as a candidate for the appointment which has called them forth; and was only suggested at the moment of election. He was thus necessarily deprived of that time for deliberation, which is usual before the final acceptance of such an office, and which might very probably have resulted in the conclusion,
Perche alle spalle sue soverchia soma.
On this unexpected call, the Author's choice of a subject was naturally directed to a line of enquiry, which engaged at the time his private theological studies; but he has since most sensibly felt the disadvantage of the very short interval allowed him for preparation, and has experienced, to an extent far beyond what he had anticipated, the difference between collections formed only for private satisfaction, and those which he could regard as sufficiently matured for public notice.
It appears the more necessary to submit the above statement of the circumstances connected with the Author's appointment to the office of Bampton Lecturer, and his selection of the subject here discussed, because a widely-circulated periodical journal has given currency to an erroneous impression, that the nomination was conferred and accepted with direct reference to prevailing controversies. But it must be sufficiently obvious from what has been said, that the Bampton Trustees could not, at the time of their election, have possessed any intimation of the intentions of a party, with whom they had had no previous communication whatever: and it is trusted, that the execution of the Lectures themselves, however deficient in other respects, will sufficiently manifest, that to engage in personal and individual controversy, is of all things the most remote from the habits and intentions of the Author.
S. In some of the earlier Lectures, references will be found to articles in a proposed Appendix; but the bulk of the volume having exceeded expectation, it has been judged expedient, as the articles in question were in no respect of material consequence to the general argument, to abandon the intention proposed in that respect.
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