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THE LETTER KILLETH; THE SPIRIT MAKETH ALIVE."
CONTAINING THE OLD TESTAMENT.
EDWARD T. WHITFIELD, 178, STRAND.
“Here one cannot help remarking a one-sidedness of the Protestant Divines of the 16th and, particularly, of the 17th centuries, which has been and continues to be the cause of endless confusion and lamentable untruth and ignorance. What relates the history of the Word of God in his humanity and in this world, and what records its teachings and warnings and promises, was mistaken for the Word of God itself in its proper sense. By this mistake, the faith in the real Word of God, which is the only immutable and eternal standard of truth, and has its response in the spirit within, was obscured, and is obscured to this day; and its only recipients, reason and conscience, have been and are violated, to the sad confusion of Christ's Church."
BUNSEN's Hippolytus, II. 149.
REVEREND CHARLES WELLBELOVED,
OF A PUPIL'S GRATITUDE, RESPECT, AFFECTION.
WOULD IT WERE WORTHY OF THE MASTER'S LEARNING !
YET LET IT EMULATE THE SPIRIT OF HIS INSTRUCTIONS,
IN THE SCHOOL OF FREE THOUGHT AND REVERENT INQUIRY,
OF PERSONAL BELIEF, MANLY AVOWAL,
AND CHRISTIAN CATHOLICITY.
This book does not profess to be an Exposition of Scripture. Larger and more learned works must fulfil that office, for readers who have more time to spare than I ask from mine. I seek thoughtful and intelligent, but not learned, readers.
I only aim at shewing the spirit in which the Scriptures require to be read and interpreted, received and defended. I wish to give utterance to a thoroughly free-minded and rational belief in them as the Records of Divine Revelation. Between the perplexing letter-worship of too many scripturists, and the sweeping rationalism which presumes to deny the possibility of a supernatural revelation, I desire to indicate the ground on which Rational Christianity may firmly take its stand, implying the divine origin of Judaism.
The state of Theology in this country, both popular and ecclesiastical, is quite deplorable. Jealous of the advance of Natural Science, if not openly resisting some of its divine truths, the current faith of Christians is easily tripped up by a scepticism as shallow as itself. Yet the reflecting and rational Christian feels that his faith is not really affected by