« AnteriorContinua »
The posthumous work now offered to the public, has been printed at the request and expence of the united congregations of Protestant Dissenters in Exeter, of whom the author was, for more than twenty years, one of the ministers : its contents were delivered by him from the pulpit; and they have been carefully transcribed from his short
In laying it before the world, the editor is anxiously desirous of exhibiting it in that state of accuracy
in which it would have appeared, had his muchregretted friend himself prepared it for the press. With this view, he has not scrupled to make those verbal alterations which he judged to be necessary; though none of them are of material importance; and though the writer's characteristic stile is
every where preserved. He has also erased a few repetitions, which he conceived to be superfluous, and has uniformly revised the references, and occasionally added to them. Where it was thought desirable to quote authorities to which the author had not recourse, or concerning which he is, from other causes, silent, notes have been introduced at the
bottom of the page, and are distinguished as the editor's.
He has ventured upon only one correction of a higher kind. It was formerly the opinion of Mr. Kenrick that the Christian scriptures describe
persons who leave the present world in a condition of unrepented guilt as doomed to future annihilation; agreeably to which idea he explained those passages in the historical books of the New Testament that speak of the punishment of the wicked in another state. But, during the last years of his life, it was his persuasion that this sentiment is unsupported by any declarations either of Jesus Christ or of his apostles; and he thought, in common with many excellent and learned men, that even the intensest sufferings of the transgressor will be corrective and remedial, and issue, finally, in universal order, happiness and virtue.
To discuss the arguments in behalf of this tenet, or those against it, is not the province of the editor, who, indeed, does not consider himself as responsible for the truth or falsehood of any of the positions, or for the soundness or fallacy of any of the reasonings, occurring in this work. Yet, in his own judgment, he would have ill discharged his duty to the author, and to the public, had he permitted the following pages to represent Mr. Kenrick as holding a doctrine which his friends and hearers knew that he had discarded.
It will be perceived that the author has given no