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REV. DAVID KING, LL.D.
AUTHOR OF THE RULING ELDERSHIP OF THE CHRISTIAN CHURCH.
LET US KEEP THE FEAST.'-
LONDON: R. GROOMBRIDGE AND SONS.
This volume is intended primarily for the members of my own congregation. With not a few of them I have spoken on divine subjects, and especially on the nature and claims of the Lord's Supper, in the view of their admission into the fellowship of the church. I have often regretted that these conferences were so few and brief; and if the parties conferred with have participated in that regret, they may be willing to receive, in this form, a fuller exhibition of the truths then considered. In the providence of God, individuals may be removed from one part of the country to another, or from the land of their nativity to a foreign clime; and when these can hear no longer the living voice of their former pastor, they may be willing to prolong fellowship with him through such a publication. Even where the congregational tie is unbroken, the members of a church may be excluded from public ordinances by the afflictive visitations of Providence. In these circumstances,
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it may be a satisfaction to the afflicted to receive the counsels of their minister through the press, while their Christian brethren are addressed by him from the pulpit. Nor would I exclude the recollection that teachers themselves are not suffered to continue by reason of death.' And surely a fitter memorial cannot be prepared by a pastor for his beloved people than that which shall transfer thought from himself to his Lord—to the Saviour who once died, but now liveth, and is alive for evermore; and which may dispose survivors to have these things always in remembrance.'
But though, in writing these pages, I have had my own congregation more immediately in view, they contain, I trust, nothing that is sectarian, and almost nothing that is denominational. With much deference, therefore, I offer them to the Christian public. The estimate that will be formed of them is not likely to be much influenced by any explanations which may be given in a preface; but a few words may be expected as to the plan I have followed. The body of the work has been adapted throughout to the general reader, and the more argumentative and critical passages have been printed as notes, or reserved for the Appendix. The almost scientific distribution of topics which some have attempted, I have refrained from adopting or imitating, as I think it undesirable. To begin with formal definitions, or with a detailed explanation of names, seems hardly to accord with the character and aim of such a treatise; and as the appellations which have been given to this ordinance have all some relation to its real or supposed nature, they cannot well be considered at the outset, without anticipating subsequent illustrations. As far as possible I have avoided repetition, and hence individual parts may seem to be defective, while the omissions have been supplied in a different connexion. That the method I have followed is unobjectionable, I am far from alleging or imagining; but I strongly feel that it cannot be fairly judged of by a mere glance at the Contents. In each chapter, a regard is had to other chapters, and their completeness and coherency cannot be properly decided on without a perusal of the whole. It might appear, especially, as if little room had been made for devotional and practical remark: whereas I have wished that such writing should pervade the volume; and I have not assigned it a separate place, preferring to associate doctrines with their cognate duties, and essential principles with their legitimate applications.