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THE Editor feels it due to those who take this volume in their hand with the intent to purchase, to declare some of its omissions, that there may be none of the regret of disappointment after the bargain.
First. The book has no finish. The Editor had not only not the time to give an artistic finish to his productions, but not even the design. Their incompleteness is intentional. He has drawn some marble slabs together, and hewn them roughly; but has left other hands to delineate minute features, and to polish them into beauty. He has dug up from the biblical mine some precious ore, smelted a little, but left all the smithing to others. He has presented "germs" which, if sown in good soil, under a free air and an open sky, will produce fruit that may draw many famishing spirits into the vineyard of the Church.
Secondly. The book has no denominationalism: it has no special reference to "our body," or to 66 our church." As denominational strength is not necessarily soul strength, nor denominational religion necessarily the religion of humanity, it is the aim of the Homilist to minister that which universal man requires. It is for man as a citizen of the universe, not as the limb of a sect.
Thirdly. The book has no polemical theology. The Editor -holding, as he does, with a tenacious grasp, the cardinal doctrines which constitute what is called the "orthodox creed" -has, nevertheless, the deep, and ever-deepening, conviction first, that such creed is but a very small portion of the truth that God has revealed, or that man requires; and that no
theological system can fully represent all the contents and suggestions of the great book of God; and, secondly, that systematic theology is but a means to an end. Spiritual morality is that end. Consequently, to the heart and life every biblical thought and idea should be directed. Coleridge has well said, "Too soon did the doctors of the Church forget that the heart-the moral nature-was the beginning and the end, and that truth, knowledge, and insight, were comprehended in its expansion. This was the true and first apostacy, when, in council and synod, the divine humanities of the gospel gave way to speculative systems, and religion became a science of shadows under the name of theology, or at least a bare skeleton of truth, without life or interest, alike inaccessible and unintelligible to the great body of Christians."
The Editor would record his grateful acknowledgments to those free spirits of all churches, who have so earnestly rallied round him, to the many who have encouraged him by their epistles, and to those especially who have aided him by their valuable contributions. May the "last day" prove, my brethren, that the help you have rendered us has been worthily bestowed, and that the Homilist did something towards the spiritual education of humanity, in its endeavours to bring the Bible, through the instrumentality of the pulpit, into a more immediate and practical contact with the every-day life of man!
ALL the articles in the Volume were written by the Editor, with the exception of
The World's Guardian
Anti-Theism in Relation to the Intuitions of Humanity
The Sphere of the Pulpit; or, the Mission of Ministers
The Manifestness of Divine Benignity
THE PULPIT IN THE FAMILY.
Human Dependence, and Divine Guidance.
God-Likeness. (By the Rev. W. BEALBY)
God-Life. (By the Rev. ROBERT FERGUSSON, LL.D.)
(By the Rev. W. G.
Nehushtan; or, the Perverting Tendency of Sin, and the True
Christ the Expounder of the Mystery
The Entail of Suffering
THE GENIUS OF THE GOSPEL.
The Beatitudes; or, Elements of Well-being