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This work contains the ideas, in an expanded form, of an Address on Commencement week, before a subsidiary organization of the Hamilton Theological Seminary. The author was subsequently honored with the following request : “Resolved, that Rev. Pharcellus Church be requested to furnish this Association, for the purpose of publication, a copy of an Address delivered by him before its last anniversary.”
This request I declined, because I could not bring myself to speak on the subject from the press, till I had carried out my thinking on some of its points to a greater extent. I have since given myself more than three years reflection upon it, and the result is, I am satisfied as to the main track of investigation, however much I may be dissatisfied with the particular mode of my prosecuting it. Had nothing but style or manner been at issue, I should have yielded to the solicitations of my friends and published long ago. But so long as the Divine Spirit withheld from me the illumination necessary to a satisfactory
understanding of principles at the basis of my subject, and the cloud was not “lifted up from off the tabernacle," how could I go forward ?
Though I have omitted from this work the details of practical religion, it must not be construed into an undervaluation of them, as a means of moral power to the church. Far otherwise. To repress in any way the aspirings of the new-born affections after holiness of life, is like enfeebling by means of bad food, bad clothing and defective the army on' which an empire relies for propping its throne and extending its dominions. Young Christians are the sacramental host to extend the arms of Immanuel in a coming generation, and to subject them to a sickly and enfeebling regimen, is to subtract from the effective force by which the Christianity of coming ages is to act against the giant evils of the world. Through the blessing of God and by the favor of the public, we may hereafter, under another form, speak also on this part of our subject.
Rochester, March, 1843.