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THE great principle of chriftian liberty. allows to others the fame right of interpreting the fcriptures, and of making profeffion of our judgment of them before the world, which each affumes to himfelf; and this liberty is the corner-ftone and bulwark of the proteftant reformation. It is to the neglect of this principle in fome churches, and the renunciation of it in others, that we must ascribe the existence of all the bigotry and intolerance which have difgraced the annals of christianity and proteftantism. To the fame fruitful fource we must impute all the corruptions of the chriftian doctrine, which
have prevailed, or which continue to prevail, in the christian world: for, upon the exercise of this liberty depends the proper vindication and more general reception of the leading truths of Jines the gofpel of Jesus Christ, and the fimplicity of our profeffion of belief in revealed religion.
The civil liberty of our country is apparent in the constitutional principles of its government. And, fubject to a fubftantial reform in every branch in which it has departed from them in practice, and in every cafe in which time has changed circumstances, it is deferving of the hearty fupport of the chriftian preacher.
The writer of these volumes trufts that every honest endeavour he may make to promote the cause of religion, liberty, and virtue will be favourably received by thofe with whom he is connected by general fimilarity of fentiment, and to whom he is perfonally attached by many kindneffes. And, if he fhall meet with the fame candour on the present occafion, which he has hitherto experienced
experienced from his many respected friends, who entertain different opinions upon the fubjects difcuffed in thefe pages, he fhall have no reason to fear their judgment.
Eight of the fermons in the first volume were printed very foon after they were preached.* They were originally published at the request of fome perfons who heard them, and are corrected in the prefent edition.
It only remains for the author to acknowledge his obligation to two greatly esteemed friends for their kind revifion of his papers. He forbears to recite their names from motives of delicacy, but he fhall record their friendship where he believes they wish him to depofit it.
March 25, 1793.
* The firft in 1777; the third 1773; the fourth 1781; the fifth 1782; the fixth and seventh in 1791; the eighth and tenth in 1792.
Preached at the vifitation of the archdeacon of Lincoln, May 28, 1777
THE RIGHT OF PRIVATE JUDGMENT.
ROMANS XIV. 5.
LET EVERY MAN BE FULLY PERSUADED IN HIS OWN MIND. p. 11.
Preached in the cathedral-church of Lincoln, at the meeting of the governors of, and fubfcribers to, the county hospital, on Thursday September 23, 1779.
PUBLIC INSTITUTIONS FOR CHARITABLE PURPOSES.
LUKE X: 29.
BUT HE, WILLING TO JUSTIFY HIMSELF, SAID UNTO JESUS, AND WHO IS MY NEIGHBOUR? p. 61.