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Tappeau Pusi, lis,
3-1-1932

PREFACE.

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So long ago as the year 1807, I published “Three Lectures on Romans iv. 9—25. designed chiefly to illustrate the nature of the Abrahamic Covenant, and its connection with Infant Baptism; with an Appendix, on the Mode of Baptism."-It was my first publication : and, after the lapse of seventeen years, I have seen very little reason to alter or to modify the general principles of that work.-A Review of it appeared, in the end of the same year, from the

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of the late Mr. Archibald Maclean of Edinburgh, a man held in just estimation, not by his own party only, but by all who knew him, for natural acuteness of intellect, close application to the study of the scriptures, and general consistency of character. I was satisfied that my main positions were unshaken by the objections of counter-reasonings of the reviewer; and the chief consideration that prevented me from then replying was, the time that it would necessarily occupy, which, I thought, might, on the whole, be more profitably employed. I am not now sure, whether this was a correct judgment.

A desire has repeatedly been expressed to me for the republication of these lectures. I could not, however, think of publishing them again in the same form. The great business of an expositor, I am fully aware, ought to be, to give a clear view of the scope, or main design, of the writer whom he expounds, and to show how his reasonings establish, and his illustrations elucidate, the point of which he treats. All matter that is not immediately

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relevant for this end, ought to be either omitted entirely, or very sparingly introduced ;-if touched, not dwelt up

The reason why this principle was departed from in the lectures, was one which I then thought, and still think, sufficient to justify the deviation. It is obvious, that the same principles, which a writer lays down, as the foundation of the conclusions which it is his object to establish, may often, with equal fairness, be made the basis of other conclusions, besides those which are at the time in his view; and principles eettled by Divine authority it is, on this account, as well as for the sake of the inferences actually deduced from them, of the highest consequence to ascertain. We then have at least determinate premnises; and have only to show how they bear us out in our deductions. Now, it may happen, that at the very time when a minister, in the regular course of exposition, arrives at a particular passage, the minds of fellow-christians, in his own religious connections, or more extensively, may be occupied and agitated by subjects which, though not immediately connected with the doctine which it is the writer's direct object to establish, may yet have a very intimate connection with the facts and principles brought forward by him for its confirmation. In such circumstances, it is surely warrantable for that minister, whilst he shows how these principles bear upon the writer's immediate object, to lay hold of them for a separate purpose, and, even, at some length, to dwell on the particular subject respecting which he feels it to be of consequence to settle the minds of his hearers.

The only proper question, in such a case, would be, whether the principles were fairly stated, and whether the conclusions from them were legitimately deduced.

Such was precisely the state of things, when the lectures in question were delivered.

But I am sensible, that the same reason which justified, the introduction, at the time, of discussions on the Abraharnic covenant and infant baptism, to a length so disproportionate in illustrating the fourth chapter of the Epistle to the Romans, would hardly justify the republication of the lectures at a distant period, when the principles can be taken by themselves, and the argument separated entirely from that of the Epistle.

I have been led to make these remarks by an observation of Mr. Maclean, in the introduction of his review, very much fitted to prejudice the mind of his reader,-namels, that “ he finds my main design to be, to support infant baptism, and that from two chapters, (Rom. iv. and Gal. iii.) where it is never once mentioned, nor does it appear in the least degree to have entered into the mind or view of the sacred writer."-But Mr. Maclean does not accuse me of overlooking the object of the apostle, or of failing to show how that object is made out from his premises :and the sole question with him ought to have been, whether the same premises which authorized the one .conclusion, were or were not legitimately applied to the establishment of the other.

The work which is now presented to the public may be considered as a substitute for that part of the former which immediately regarded the subject of the Abrahamic covenant and baptism. · It is, however, in almost all respects, a new work. The discussions are cleared from all the foreign matter, with which they were unavoidably associated by the passages on which the lectures were founded. The reasonings are, by this means, revdered more distinct and consecutive. The subject is treated more at large, in all its parts, and especially in some which before were hardly, if at all, touched upon. To the whole train of argument and arrangement has been given, such as, it is hoped, may render it plain and easily followed, and may serve to free the subject of it from some portion at least of the confusion and difficulty in which, to not a few minds, it has always appeared to be involved. Some of the leading objections, moreover, have been met, and, to my own satisfaction at least, exposed—and what is said, in the third section, of the uses of infant baptism, is wholly new.

It may be thought, that the necessity of publishing at all was superceded by the late able work of my

esteemed friend and colleague, Mr. Ewing. The larger proportion of his Essay, however, as the circumstances wbich gave rise to it might have led us to anticipate, relates to the MODE of baptism ; and, although this is treated with a measure of originality, and of classical and biblical learning, high

ly creditable to its author,—there still seemed to be room left for a fuller and more systematic discussion of the other great branch of the controversy,—the subjects of the ordinance,- which is touched in the Essay indeed, and touched with the same ability, but which is not the professed object of the writer to treat extensively. This part of the field the circumstances I have before stated had long determined me to occupy anew, previously to the publication of Mr. Ewing's work; and my determination was quickened to action by the appearance of an antagonist in him, and to the late Dr. Dwight, and to myself. I refer to the work of the Rev. F. A. Cox, of Hackney, put forth with thc ponderous and appaling title--"On Baptism: chiefly in Reply to the Etymological Positions of the Rev. Greville Ewing, in his · Essay on Baptism : the Po'emic Discussions of the Rev. Timothy Dwight, S. T. D., L. L. D., in his Work, entitled, “ Theology; and the Inferential Reasonings of the Rev. Ralph Wardlaw, D. D. in his Lectures on the Abrahamic Covenant." In some of the advertisements of this work, the first part of the title, I observe, has undergone an alteration ; and, instead of the "etymological positions," we have the" etymological novelties," of Mr. Ewing : and it is surely, in the annals of controversy, a somewhat curious circumstance, opponent should formally announce, in his title-page, a reply to precisely that part of the work he sets himself to oppose, which iis author had declared to be unconnected with the course and conclusiveness of his argument: for thus Mr. Ewing had expressed himself :—“Such is my atternpl to analyze Bantw and its related words. shall reject it (I dare say many will); in that case, they will of course disallow my theory for illustrating the origin, and the connection of the various meanings of those words. But they will not be able, thereby, to set aside the meanings themselves. These must still be tried by the force of the examples which may be produced in support of each by itself. Although I shall, in what follows, reser my theory to the derivation of the terms, for the sake of showing how well it tallies with the application of them in the examples in which they occur; I shall, in no case, use an argument, in support of their meaning,

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