THE following Essay was originally composed without any design or thought of its future publication. The writer was induced to undertake the investigation merely by a hope of obviating certain difficulties, which had hitherto existed in his own mind, whenever he contemplated the doctrine of atonement. These difficulties appeared, on examination, to have arisen, chiefly, from an incorrect, or at least an indefinite, apprehension of the meaning of certain metaphorical language, which is generally used in discussions on this subject. This circumstance is mentioned as some apology for in attempt to exclude the use of such language from the following work.
Perhaps it may be thought, as the writer undertook the work merely with the hope of, removing difficulties from his own mind, it would have been better, if he had remained satisfied with the attainment of that object. So the writer thought, and so would he have done, had it not been for the advice of those an whose judgment he has more confidence than in his own. The work is now offered to the public, not within expectation of meeting the approbation of those whose prejudices are already enlisted for the support of a different theory; nor with much hope of instructing those who have viewed the subject through a confused medium so long that they have at length become satisfied with mere general notions and indefinite ideas; but, with a hope of affording aid to common Christians, who, though humble and candid, are still anxious to increase their knowledge on those subjects, which "the angels desire to look into." If the reader should find any thing in the following pages concerning the correctness of which he entertains doubts, he is requested, as well for his own sake as that of the Author, to refer it to the Bible in preference to any other authority, as a correct standard of religious sentiments.
GLASTENBURY, April, 1822.
AN ESSAY ON THE SCRIPTURE DOCTRINE OF ATONEMENT.
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