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HOURS OF THOUGHT

ON

SACRED THINGS,

A VOLUME OF SERMONS

BY

JAMES MARTINEAU, LL.D., D.D.,

HONORARY MEMBER OF THE AMERICAN ACADEMY OF ARTS AND SCIENCES, AND

PRINCIPAL OF MANCHESTER NEW COLLEGE, LONDON.

301)

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Ψυχής άγνης τόπον οικειότερον επί γης ουκ έχει Θεός.

DEMOPHILI Sent. Pythag. 45.
Um Gott zu haben, muss man zuerst etwas sein, das Gott haben kann.

RICHARD ROTHE: Stiile Stunden, 189.

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LONDON: PRINTED BY WOODFALL AND KINDER,

MILFORD LANE, STRAND, W.C.

PREFACE.

The first duty, it has been said, of a retired preacher is to commit to the flames whatever he has prepared for the pulpit, and secure the world against further tedium from his labours. In the face of this canon of clerical duty, I have hesitated to rescue a few fragments from the process of destruction, and let them try for them. selves whether their natural life has reached its term. If I have found courage for the experiment, it is chiefly because a previous collection, which thirty years ago I did not expect to reproduce, is apparently more true to the feeling of the present time than to that of the last generation. Those who have spent thought and zeal on the moral movements of their age may naturally dread, as their strength declines and their speed slackens, to be thrown out of the great march which they have long shared : and they may legitimately put it to the test, whether they have dropped off into loneliness, or whether their voice is still in harmony with the tones which meet the future. If the following pages should foster any high impulse in those who have the work of life before them, or shed any light on those who have the sorrows of life behind them, I shall be content not to have withheld it.

This volume represents, on the whole, a considerably later stage of feeling and experience than the “Endeavours after the Christian Life”; and doubtless bears traces, in parts, of the more recent aspects of religious speculation. But essentially the same view of life, the same conception of the order of the world, the same interpretation of the Christian mind, will still meet the reader: for they remain unaffected, so far as I can perceive, by the real discoveries, and are prejudiced only by the philosophical fictions of the last five-and-twenty years. The new lights of historical criticism certainly change, in no slight degree, our picture of the origin and growth of the Christian religion : but every larger comprehension of the universe only invests the principles of that religion with sublimer truth; and every added refinement of conscience the more attests their spiritual worth.

LONDON, October 6th, 1876.

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