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before him by the author in composing the several portions of it; to exhibit the glory of the Gospel of the rich grace of God, the joyful news from Heaven to sinners as such, and its mighty power and invariable effect in producing subjection of mind, and obedience to the divine commands in all who are taught of God to believe it. I know no human writings that have done this with the truth, the perspicuity, and the comprehensiveness that distinguish the present: I know not any human works that so clearly display the true mercy of God revealed in the testimony to the Lord Jesus Christ; so searchingly expose the treacherous deceptions employed to obscure or nullify it; that mark so plainly the obedience inseparable from a belief of the truth, and exhibited in the visible union of the first Disciples; or so happily contrast that union with the vague, imaginary, and delusive phantom that forms the common idol of discordant sects in the present day. They have been already made instrumental in exposing the devices of the man of sin, and promoting a great and wonderful revival of apostolic doctrine and practice: and the hope may be entertained, without presumptuously arrogating to them any character beyond humble instruments of Almighty power, that they shall still be rendered useful to the same objects. While day and night succeed, while seed-time and harvest return in their due season, while this earth continues to yield her fruits to man's hand, and to witness his ingratitude, so long there is a divine proof that the Lord has yet on it a remnant to be saved; and so long his people are warranted and encouraged to spread among their fellow sinners the gospel of his kingdom, the word of everlasting life: and notwithstanding every discouragement from without, though every circumstance around tends to make them weary and faint-hearted; though they see religious whoredoms abounding more and more ; though they see the love of many who gave better promise, and for a time walked with them, waxen cold; though they see their own assemblies not exempt from painful exhibitions of human evil; they will trust in Him who makes every one of his sheep to hear his voice, and glorifies Himself in giving them all one mind and one way; and they will be forward to use every means He has sanctioned for accomplishing this gracious design.
It would be an agreeable task to pursue these topics in connection with the author's works; to trace the singleness of object discoverable in his earliest productions as in his most matured; to follow the progressive enlargement of his judgment as it became exercised and experienced in the Christian contest; and from an examination of their influence on the contemporaneous appearances of Antichristian religion, to derive instruction and wisdom for meeting the specious simulations it progressively adopts. This, however, were I able to execute it most successfully, would trangress the limit of my undertaking, and detain the reader from the admirable works before him. To give him every facility for making his own observations, I have adopted the simple and most natural arrangement of each class of didactic pieces in chronological order, by the side of which the correspondence, similarly disposed, like a current commentary serves to furnish particulars of the author and his times, meets objections levelled against his sentiments on Christian doctrine or Christian practice, supplies explanations and corrections, as his views of both progressively enlarged; and, what I consider its most instructive feature, exhibits the practical application of the doctrine of Christ, to the various cases of individual brethren, or the churches of God, as well for warning and rebuke, as for encouragement and consolation. I have not materially departed from this arrangement except in the instance of the letter to Mr. Belsham, and the Address to a young Student: the growth of the second volume beyond my original intention forced me to place them at the end of the first. The deviation would scarcely require particular notice, but that the date of the letter to Mr. Belsham is of importance in forming a judgment upon it. It was written some time prior to the date of any other scriptural article admitted into this edition, and while the author was still a clergyman. I have given my reasons for its insertion, and for suppressing at the same time certain passages of it, in a note to p. 567, and I hope they will excuse me with any of my brethren who may still question the expediency of its publication. There is among the Remarks Corrective, vol. ii. p. 76, a biblical criticism on Acts xix. 2, extracted from the "Advocate of Revealed Truth,” a periodical published in Dublin in 1804, and to which Mr. W. contributed some articles. I inadvertently neglected to appriso
the reader, by an addition of the date, how long it preceded the other articles of its class. I may, however, generally observe that those who can most justly estimate the value of the present work, and can derive the greatest benefit from it, will be the most ready to acknowledge the infirmity and imperfection inseparable from every work of man, and will most heartily subscribe to that right-minded declaration of the author, not to allow anything he has written to have force against the truth. Error is progressive, ever changing, ever assuming some new shape. Every worn-out cloak that the force of truth strips her of, is found to have covered a garment of finer and more delicate texture, in which she pursues her unwearied task, and presents to every different class and to every succeeding generation of men, the specious dress most adapted to allure it. Disciples must expect this; they must not rest supine under the idea that every description of the deceivableness of unrighteousness has been already exposed; they must look forward to new appearances of their old enemies, and even to see the language of the faithful advocates of truth employed to pervert the doctrines they held most sacred. As the dawning of that great day, that shall finally consume every work of darkness, increases in brightness, the deceived and deceiving adversaries of Christ, calling themselves after his name, are compelled to put on a still more deceitful guise; evil men and seducers, with the titles of pious, devout, and zealous ministers of him, become more and more busy, and employ more crafty devices to draw away disciples after them; churches, counterfeiting a nearer approach to Christian doctrine and discipline, multiply, and open their doors to receive numerous deserters from the more ancient temples of their gods. For all this the children of the kingdom must be prepared, and against all this they must arm themselves, not with the wisdom and authority of man, but with the word of God, the sword of his Spirit. While they hold in high and deserved esteem those who have gone before them, and maintained the good fight in their day; while they enjoy with gratitude the fruit of their labours, they will best follow their bright exaniple by forgetting the things that are behind, and keeping before their view the one unchanging object, who “is the same yesterday, to-day, and for ever,”
and through whom the weakest of his children is armed for a successful contest with every adversary.
The introduction into the author's correspondence of letters from one church to another may appear at first strange.
I would apprize the reader that such letters were drawn up by him at the request of the church with which he met at the time. I have others of the same kind subscribed, but, I think, not composed by him, and which for this reason I have not inserted.
Of the typographical portion of this work I conceive myself warranted in saying, that the compression of so much matter, combined with so much correctness, legibility, and neatness of execution, does great credit to the ability and zeal of my printer, Mr. G. H. Davidson, to whose assistance through the progress of my labour I feel much indebted.
Although Mr. Walker and his sentiments have not of late been much noticed in controversial publications, at least as far as I know, there are one or two notices of both, published since his death, that I cannot pass without observation. The first is by the learned and deservedly respected writer of “ Sermons on the Nature and Effects of Faith," Lond. 1833. He represents Mr. Walker as holding faith to consist "in a belief in the narrative of the Bible; or in an intelligent assent to certain propositions concerning the incarnation, life, and death of our blessed Lord.” The extraordinary phraseology of this definition leaves me quite at a loss to conjecture from whence it has been derived. It is certainly not taken from Mr. Walker's writings. I can find no such language in his works, though they abound in plain unequivocal statements of the nature and effects of that faith with which eternal life is connected, and in striking contrasts of it with the various notions of religionists on the subject. If his information has been derived from the report of others, he and they have now an opportunity of opposing the deliberate opinions of the author, and not the equivocal definitions imputed to him by those who see just enough of the truth to hate and misrepresent it.
Mr.Walker and his sentiments have been also brought before the public in the “Remains of Alex. Knox, Esq." Lond. 1835. -the same gentleman who, with little consciousness of the unequal contest, attacked Mr. Walker's affectionate and wholesome expostulation with the Methodists, and received
the admirable reply that forms the second article of this volume. Mr. Walker and his opponent are now where alone the question between them can be decided. I shall offer no further observations on these posthumously published remarks of Mr. Knox, than that I have some reason to think, had himself been the editor of his works, several of those observations to Dr. Jebb would not have appeared. I have seen another notice of Mr. Walker in an obscure monthly periodical, entitled “ The Millennial Harbinger, &c." for Sept. 1835; but it is of so low and disgusting a character as to be most suitably treated with silent pity.
My inclination would have led me to accompany these works with some memoir of the author. It would have been a gratification, however imperfectly I might have done it, to record the talents, the learning, the work of faith, and labour of love, of one whom I most highly esteemed, and whose memory I cherish in enduring veneration. But I am warned by his own language and example to refrain from thus mixing up human character with divine truth, and diverting the reader's mind from subjects of the highest importance to him, to the examination of what does not at all affect them. Some highly interesting particulars of the author's life may be collected from these volumes, to which I shall only add its happy termination.
After having walked with the church for thirty years, in all humility of mind, assuming no official distinction among his brethren, but with unwearied zeal fulfilling the part of a watchful and faithful brother; after a course visited with many and sore trials and afflictions, yet abounding in the joy of the Holy Spirit, he threw off his earthly tabernacle, died in faith, and entered into the joy of his Lord, of whom he was an highly favoured servant, on the 25th Oct. 1833.
Queen Square, Bloomsbury.