"This work is written under the impression,
deepened by the testimony of able scholars, that the love of Truth is one
of the fundamental principles given to us by Christianity, and revived
by the spirit of Protestantism and Science. Ignorance, fanaticism, party,
prejudice, etc. may indeed at times have obscured It, but intelligent piety
has constantly restored it."
"Uprightness demands that we follow
the truth wherever it may lead, regardless of results, keeping in mind
the remark of Canstein,
'Straightforwardness is best.
When we seek to make the truth bend, it usually breaks.'
The doctrine discussed in the following
pages being within the field of controversy, and the subject of varied
interpretation, it will become in its turn, owing to its antagonism to
the prevailing theology the legitimate subject of criticism. Of this we
do not complain, but rather commend the fact. 'History repeats itself,
and in such a repetition we do not flatter ourselves to escape the usual
fate of our predecessors in authorship. Indeed, we already have had sad
foretastes of the same, confirming the teaching of scripture, and corroborating
the experience of good men, that no exercise of wisdom, caution, and prudence
will be able wholly to avert the evil tongues and pens of others."
"That this work will bring upon the
author bitter and unrelenting abuse is almost inevitable, presenting as
it does unpalatable truths to a proud humanity. How can this be otherwise,
when even the institution of the Lord's supper, intended as a bond of union
and love, has been made the subject of uncharitable discord, violent abuse
and miserable hatred between professed believers. While we trust that the
spirit which actuated many of the eucharistic controversies may never again
arise, we are only too sensible, from treatment already experienced, that
human nature remains the same."
The opposition . . . consequent to and
connected with such a discussion as follows while duly anticipated, as
a heritage of the studious sons of the Church (The more marked their labors,
the greater the abuse), would be less painful if it came only from infidels
or the enemies of the truth, but much of it comes through those from whom,
in view of a common faith and hope, we expect different treatment-at least
forbearance if not charity. Acknowledging the respectful and Christian
manner in which we are spoken of by a number of our opponents, yet the
simple fact is, that if any one dares to arise and call into question the
correctness of popular views and propose another, one too in strict accordance
with the early teaching of the Church, his motives are assailed, his learning
and ability are lowered, his position is accorded a scornful and degrading
pity, by persons who deem themselves set up for the defense of the truth.
This plainness of speech the reader will pardon when he is assured that
the writer, for the sake of the opinions set forth in this work, has suffered
all this from the hands of 'brethren,' who by such efforts, reproaches,
innuendoes, etc., have sought to lessen his influence and retard his preferment."
George N.H. Peters (1825-1909)