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Entered, according to the Act of Congress, in the year 1845, by

in the clerk's office of the District Court of the United States for the Eastern

District of Pennsylvania.

Printed by T. K. & P. G. Collins.

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The following work was undertaken at the request
of the General Synod of the Lutheran Church in the
United States. The want of a volume on the plan pro-
posed, uniting in a portable form the primary aspects
of Christian Doctrine and Practice, and sustaining at
the same time some relation to the Lutheran church,
had long been felt and frequently expressed. Out of

respect to the glorious Reformation, the same ec-
clesiastical body desired that some reference should"
be had to the doctrines then avowed, and the Augsburg
Confession be introduced. With a view that the work
might also discharge a portion of the debt due from
Protestant churches to the cause of Reformation, amid
the accumulated and insidious efforts of Romanists to
disseminate their errors, it was deemed expedient not
to omit the list of Catholic corruptions of Christianity,
against which the early Reformers protested before the
Emperor and Diet, and which their churches had re-
pudiated even at that early day. It was desired, that
the plan of the work might be systematic, and yet that
its discussions should partake rather of the popular
than learned character, being designed for laymen as
well as the clergy. How far the author has succeeded
in meeting the wishes of that respected judicatory of

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the church, his brethren generally, and the public at large, will judge.

Habitually fond of rigid adherence to system, the writer would have preferred the omission of the Augsburg Confession, as that symbol was neither designed for an epitome of Theology, nor is entirely systematic in its structure. This difficulty was however obviated by mainly pursuing a logical connexion in the arrangement of the subjects, and when any particular article of the Confession did not coincide with this order, referring the reader to its appropriate place in the work The limits prescribed to himself, precluded as ample a survey of many topics, as would have been pleasing to the writer, and perhaps grateful to some readers. Condensed as the discussions are, they have swelled the volume beyond its contemplated size.

Throughout the whole, it was the author's prayerful effort to render the work instructive and edifying to the intelligent Christian and theological student; and he hopes it will be found not entirely useless to ministers of the gospel. From the nature of the case, those topics could not be avoided, on which diversity of opinion exists among Christian denominations : and the writer desires those who may dissent from any of the views presented, to remember that he was conducted to their discussion by the nature of his work, and not by fondness for polemical altercation. On matters of non-fundamental importance, Christians should agree to controvert with lenity, and differ in peace. Entire harmony of opinion was not an attribute of the church even under apostolic guidance; nor have we any evidence, that diversity of view on minor points, was regarded as a barrier to ecclesiastical communion. Fundamental errorists, indeed, ought to be the subjects of uncompromising controversy, and of exclusion from church privileges. To this end, as well as to ascertain the fundamental soundness of applicants for sacramental and for ministerial communion, some comparison of doctrinal views is unavoidably requisite. Nor is it a matter of any moment, whether the parties present their views to each other orally; or one, or both, communicate by writing. In either case, we have a creed; and, that which is written, possesses some manifest advantages over its oral counterpart. The error of existing creeds lies not in their being reduced to paper, but in their undue length, and in the rigid adherence demanded to those minor points, which ought not to be embraced in them at all. There is little doubt that in each of the several denominations termed orthodox, there are and always have been members living in harmony, who differ from each other as much as the symbols of the several churches. As the great head of the church has so extensively owned the labours of all these denominations, the ground held by them in common should be considered fundamental, and the points of difference regarded in a secondary light as legitimate subjects for free and friendly inquiry. To the amicable discussion of these points even the dissentient reader therefore cannot object; but if a single page of this work be found soiled by acerbity of spirit, or harshness

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