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PRINTED BY JOHN SMITH, LONG ACRE, LONDON, FOR MACMILLAN AND CO.
London: GEORGE BELL.
PROPHETS AND KINGS
THE OLD TESTAMENT.
A SERIES OF SERMONS PREACHED IN THE CHAPEL
OF LINCOLN'S INN,
THOMAS ERSKINE, Esq., OF LINLATHEN.
MY DEAR Mr. ERSKINE,
THE pleasure of associating iny name with yours, and the kind interest which you expressed in some of these sermons when you heard them preached, might not be a sufficient excuse for the liberty which I take in dedicating them to you. But I have a much stronger reason. I am under obligations to you which the subject of this volume especially brings to my mind and which other motives beside personal gratitude urge me to acknowledge.
I owe it to you that I am able to honour and to appreciate one part of the testimony which was borne by those Scotchmen in the 17th century, whom we of the English Church are apt to regard with great dislike. I owe it to you that another part of their doctrine, which is often confounded with that testimony, and which, I fear, in the minds of a number of their descendants has survived it altogether, appears to me much more perilous and terrible than it does to many of those who are in the habit of denouncing them. Their proclamation that God Himself is the King, the Lawgiver,
the Judge of a Nation, that His government over the Jews was not a more actual government than that which He exercised over Scotland, that His Will is the only source and ground of right will and right acts in His creatures ;this is a proclamation which, whatever form it may have taken, against whatever persons or institutions it may have been directed, whatever may have been the immediate or apparent results of putting it forward, I cannot but accept as true, beneficent, divine. If the Episcopalian Churchmen and Statesmen of England and Scotland had fully and heartily recognised it, I do not believe that any power on earth could have shaken their hierarchy. Because they were not possessed with the truth of it, I thank God that they were not permitted to uphold what I nevertheless believe that He established and that He raised again.
But those who spoke of God as a real King, and who affirmed that a nation stood by virtue of its covenant with Him, used phrases respecting His sovereignty which, it seems to me, were destructive of the very principle for which they were contending, which justified any evil acts they might find necessary for their purpose, which were pregnant with mischief to after generations. All that there was of strength and nobleness in these men arose out of the belief that the God of the Jews and of them was a God of righteousness and truth, and that whatever was unrighteous and untrue must sooner or later shrink and shrivel at His