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GEOLOGY, in the magnitude and sublimity of the objects of which it treats, undoubtedly ranks, in the scale of the sciences, next to Astronomy.


There is a knowledge which creates doubts that nothing but a larger knowledge can satisfy; and he who stops in the difficulty will be perplexed and uncomfortable for life. MR. SHARON TURNER.

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THE following lectures were prepared and delivered, by the appointment of the Committee of the Congregational Lecture, under some peculiarity of circumstances. The appointment was unexpected, and the notice unavoidably short. Several parts therefore, and those referring to subjects of the greatest importance, were treated in a manner too brief, and indeed extemporaneously: but to the kind and attentive audience the promise was given that, if the publication should take place, the author would supply those deficiencies. This he has endeavoured to do, partly by filling up the portions which, in the delivery, were but sketched, and partly by adding Notes, both on the immediate pages, and in a Supplementary Appendix.

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The reader will perceive that numerous citations are introduced. For this, no apology is requisite: and, indeed, so richly interesting are the most of those passages, that it would have been a wrong to the subject and to the reader to have withheld them. Another circumstance proves their importance and even necessity. The facts which are the basis of geological reasonings can be known to the majority even of well educated persons,

only by testimony; as, in the greater number of instances, they are to the author himself. To bring forwards, therefore, the statements of the most competent authorities, in their own words, is due to the right position of the subject and to the satisfaction of the reader. Should it be objected, that some of those citations contain reasonings and opinions, besides statements of fact; the reply is that they are the reasonings and opinions of men who thoroughly understood the grounds upon which they are built; and that, therefore, the inferences which such men have seen to be just, are entitled to stand in the next line of authority to their testimony as eye-witnesses and labourers in the great field. It involves no disrespect to the multitude of pious and intelligent persons, to say that they cannot form an independent opinion upon many subjects in Natural Philosophy. It is no dishonour to accept the conclusions of NEWTON and his followers, though we confess ourselves unable to read the Principia.



THE "CONGREGATIONAL LIBRARY" was established with a view to the promotion of Ecclesiastical, Theological, and Biblical Literature, in that religious connexion with whose friends and supporters it originated. It was also designed to secure a convenient locality for such associations as had previously existed, or might hereafter exist, for the purpose of advancing the literary, civil, and religious interests of that section of the Christian Church to which it was appropriated. Without undervaluing the advantages of union, either with Evangelical Protestants, or Protestant Nonconformists, on such grounds as admit of liberal co-operation, it was nevertheless deemed expedient to adopt measures for facilitating the concentration and efficiency of their own denomination. In connexion with these important objects, it was thought desirable to institute a LECTURE, partaking rather of the character of Academic prelections than of popular addresses, and embracing a Series of Annual Courses of Lectures, to be delivered at the Library, or, if necessary, in some contiguous place of worship. In the selection of Lecturers, it was judged proper to appoint such as, by their literary attainments and ministerial reputation, had rendered service to the cause of divine truth in the consecration of their talents to the "defence and confirmation of the gospel." It was also supposed, that some might be found possessing a high order of intellectual competency and moral worth, imbued with an ardent love of biblical science, or eminently conversant with theological and ecclesiastical literature, who, from various causes, might never have attracted that degree of public attention to which they are entitled, and yet might be both qualified and disposed to

undertake courses of lectures on subjects of interesting importance, not included within the ordinary range of pulpit instruction. To illustrate the evidence and importance of the great doctrines of Revelation; to exhibit the true principles of philology in their application to such doctrines; to prove the accordance and identity of genuine philosophy with the records and discoveries of Scripture; and to trace the errors and corruptions which have existed in the Christian Church to their proper sources, and, by the connexion of sound reasoning with the honest interpretation of God's holy Word, to point out the methods of refutation and counteraction; are amongst the objects for which "the Congregational Lecture" has been established. The arrangements made with the Lecturers are designed to secure the publication of each separate course, without risk to the Authors; and after remunerating them as liberally as the resources of the Institution will allow, to apply the profits of the respective publications in aid of the Library. It is hoped that the liberal, and especially the opulent, friends of Evangelical and Congregational Nonconformity, will evince, by their generous support, the sincerity of their attachment to the great principles of their Christian profession; and that some may be found to emulate the zeal which established the "Boyle," the "Warburton," and the "Bampton" Lectures in the National Church. These are legitimate operations of the "voluntary prinple" in the support of religion, and in perfect harmony with the independency of our Churches, and the spirituality of the kingdom of Christ.

The Committee deem it proper to state that, whatever responsibility may attach either to the reasonings or opinions advanced in any Course of Lectures belongs exclusively to the Lecturer.


Bloomfield Street, Finsbury, October, 1839.

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