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PREFACE.

The apparently ambitious title of this really unpretending work may seem to require some explanation.

In tardy compliance with an often repeated request from friends on whose judgment he relied, the author undertook to prepare a selection of his sermons for the press. Subsequent consideration, however, led to the belief that their subject-matter might be more advantageously treated in the form of a connected work than in that of pulpit discourses; and a growing sense of the interest and importance of some of the topics discussed in one of them bearing upon light and darkness, has induced him to expand it, with extracts from others, and much new matter, into the present publication, , of which the name, although he wishes it were more modest, could hardly, he thinks, have been more appropriate. The work was intended at first for little more than a brief and popular compilation. The author's design was to make it a sort of net-work of quotations and references woven into the form of a narrative. But his peculiar position prevented him from carrying this

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intention into execution. The book has been written at intervals both of health and leisure, at a distance not only from the publisher, but from some of the best authorities, and from any literary friend from whom he could derive counsel or assistance. It is the author's first work, and his ignorance of the time allowed for the correction of a manuscript has caused him to leave a large portion of his own almost wholly unrevised. But, though deeply sensible of the many imperfections of his work, he still hopes that He whose strength is made perfect in weakness, will bless this effort, however humble, to promote His glory, and to vindicate the truth and importance of His own word.

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