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I am not so ignorant of the temper and tendency of the age in which I live, as either to be miprepared for the sort of remarks which the literal interpretation of the Evangelist will call forth, or to attempt an answer to them. Visionary ravings, obsolete whimsies, transcendental trash, and the like, I leave to pass at the price current among those who are willing to receive abusive phrases as substitutes for argument. Should any suborner of anonymous criticism have engaged some literary bravo or buffoon beforehand to vilify this work, as in former instances, I would give a friendly hint to the operative critic that he may compile an excellent article for the occasion, and with very little trouble, out of Warburton's Tract on Grace and the Spirit, and the Preface to the same. There is, however, one objection, which will so often be heard from men, whose talents and reputed moderation must give a weight to their words, that I owe it both to my own character and to the interests of my readers, not to leave it unnoticed. The charge will probably be worded in this way:--There is nothing new in all this! (as if novelty were any merit in questions of revealed religion!) It is, mysticism, all taken out of William Law, after he had lost his senses, poor man! in brooding over the visions of a delirious German cobbler, Jacob Behmen.

Of poor Jacob Behmen I have delivered my sentiments at large in another work. Those who have condescended 302 to look into his writings must know that his characteristic errors are; first, the mistaking the accidents and pecularities of his own overwrought mind for realities and modes of thinking common to all minds: and secondly, the confusion of nature, that is, the active powers communicated to matter, with God the Creator. And if the same persons have done more than merely looked into the present volume, they must have seen, that to eradicate, and, if possible, to preclude both the one and the other, stands prominent among its avowed objects.

Of William Law's Works I am acquainted with the Serious Call; and besides this I remember to have read a small Tract on Prayer, if I mistake not, as I easily may, it being at least six-and-twenty years since I saw it. He may in this or in other tracts have quoted the same passages from the fourth Gospel, which I have done. But surely this affords no presumption that my conclusions are the same with his; still less, that they are drawn from the same premisses; and least of all, that they were adopted from his writings. Whether Law has used the phrase, assimilation by faith, I know not; but I know that I should expose myself to a just charge of an idle parade of my reading, if I recapitulated the tenth part of the authors, ancient and modern, Romish and Reformed, from Law to Clemens Alexandrinus and Irenaeus, in whose works the same phrase occurs in the same sense. And after all, on such a subject, how worse than childish is the whole dispute!

Is the fourth Gospel authentic? And is the interpretation I have given true or false? These are the only questions which a wise man would put, or a Christian be anxious to answer. I not only believe it to be the true sense of the texts; but I assert that it is the only true, rational, and even tolerable sense. And this position 303 alone I conceive myself interested in defending. I have studied with an open and fearless spirit the attempts of sundry learned critics of the Continent to invalidate the authenticity of this Gospel, before and since Eichhorn's Vindication. The result has been a clearer assurance and (as far as this was possible) a yet deeper conviction of the genuineness of all the writings which the Church has attributed to this Apostle. That those, who have formed an opposite conclusion, should object to the use of expressions which they had ranked among the most obvious marks of spuriousness, follows as a matter of course. But that men, who with a clear and cloudless assent receive the sixth chapter of this Gospel as a faithful, nay, inspired record of an actual discourse, should take offence at the repetition of words which the Redeemer himself in the perfect foreknowledge that they would confirm the disbelieving, alienate the unsteadfast and transcend the present capacity even of his own elect, had chosen as the most appropriate; and which, after the most decisive proofs that they were misinterpreted by the greater number of his hearers, and not understood by any, he nevertheless repeated with stronger emphasis and without comment as the only appropriate symbols of the great truth he was declaring, and to realize which


--that in their own discourses these men

**Of which our, he was made flesh, is a very inadequate translation. The Church of England in this as in other doctrinal points has preserved the golden mean between the superstitious reverence of the Romanists, and the avowed contempt of the Sectarians, for the writings of the Fathers, and the authority and unimpeached traditions of the Church during the first three or four centuries. And how, consistently with this honorable characteristic of our Church, a minister of the same could, on the Sacramentary scheme now in fashion, return even a plausible answer to Arnauld's great work on Transubstantiation, (not without reason the boast of the Romish Church), exceeds my powers of conjecture. 304 should hang back from all express reference to these words, as if they were afraid or ashamed of them, though the earliest recorded ceremonies and liturgical forms of the primitive Church are absolutely inexplicable, except in connexion with this discourse, and with the mysterious and spiritual, not allegorical and merely ethical, import of the same; and though this import is solemnly and in the most unequivocal terms asserted and taught by their own Church, even in her Catechism, or Compendium of doctrines necessary for all her members;--this I may, perhaps, understand; but this I am not able to vindicate or excuse.

There is, however, one opprobrious phrase which it may be profitable for my younger readers that I should explain, namely, Mysticism. And for this purpose I will quote a sentence or two from a dialogue which, had my prescribed limits permitted, I should have attached to the present work; but which with an Essay* on the Church as instituted by Christ, and as an establishment of the State, and a series of Letters on the right and the superstitious use and estimation of the Bible, will appear in a small volume by themselves, should the reception given to the present volume encourage or permit the publication.

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