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1. Presbyterian Church - Duetrinie,

THE NEW YORK PUBLIC LIBRARY

ASTOR LENOX AND TILDEN FOUNDATIONS 1918

L -

PREFACE.

Ina country of equal rights, it is the privilege of every one to think freely, investigate fairly, and explain in the most simple, plain and candid manner. Truth acknowledges no dependence on sophistry for success. It relies alone upon fair argument, and, when properly understood, appears well even in a homely dress.

It is the duty of every branch of the church, when circumstances require it, to give her view of what the Bible teaches. Concealment, double-dealing and mental reservations, in such cases, should always be carefully avoided.

The Cumberland Presbyterians have adopted a system of doctrines, in the belief and practice of which they are, perhaps, as firm and uniform as any other denomination. While they claim the privilege of believing that this system is fully sustained by the word of God, they are very far from arrogating to themselves INFALLIBILITY in interpreting the holy scriptures. They have ever maintained, that a difference in subordinate points of doctrine, ought not to constitute separate communions or destroy the UNITY of the church of Christ.

Although they have adopted and published to the world, a Consession of Faith, and a system of church government; yet they havp probably been remiss in not giving these formularies a more gen. eral circulation. In this they are entirely singular. Other branches of the church exercise a laudable diligence in putting the volume containing their peculiarities in the hand of every individual within their reach. They thereby manifest not only sincerity in their belief, but a wish to disseminate what they deem correct principles.

The Cumberland Presbyterians have heretofore, manifested but little interest in writing and publishing arguments for the purpose of defending the doctrines of their church. Their fields of operation have been large and white unto harvest and have required the active and constant labors of all their preachers. This, in connexion with a desire to fraternize with all religious denominations, has been, perhaps, of some disadvantage to them. It is still hoped, however, that they will forever banish that little sectarian bigotry that has on some occasions emanated from the presses of other branches of the church.

The following thoughts and historical sketch have been elicited by frequent applications from abroad, for information concerning the doctrines and origin of the Cumberland Presbyterian church, of which the writer has the honor of being a member. He hopes they will not infringe upon that spirit of harmony and union which he wishes at all times to prevail among evangelical denominations.

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