The publication of these selected discussions from the writings of Dr. Dabney was projected upon the following plan:—

The whole number of volumes will be four. Three of these, classified as “Discussions Theological and Evangelical,” “Discussions Ecclesiastical,” and “Discussions on Philosophy Relating to Christianity,” will be issued under the imprimatur of the church, and for which the church will stand responsible in the sense in which it is responsible for other publications issued under its auspices. The church does not make itself responsible in any such writings for every particular error which may be expected in the works of fallible men; its responsibility is limited to those statements which are in accord with the recognized creed of the church. So far as any statement of doctrine or theory of philosophy or inference in either sphere of theology or metaphysics is not in such accord, it is to be credited to the writer alone. The fourth volume of the series, “Discussions Secular,” will be issued uniform with the other three, but for this the church, of course, assumes no responsibility whatever. This fourth volume will contain papers of great historical and civil interest, and also a certain percentage of discussions which might have been introduced into the Ecclesiastical and Philosophic volumes. It will contain matter of universal interest to every class of readers.

These papers are selected out of a mass of productions which would furnish perhaps more than one volume similar to those embraced in the present series. The aim has been to choose the best, so far as the discrimination could be made, and those bearing on issues now living in the discussions of the day. Those papers which handle the great permanent subjects of the Christian system will never lose their interest. The method in which these are dealt with in these discussions may safely be left to the judgment of all competent to appreciate them.

The editor would pointedly call attention to the invaluable assistance rendered to the issue of these volumes by the Rev. George Summey, of Chester, S. C. But for him it is not unlikely the enterprise would have failed altogether. The subscription lists hung suspended for many months below the figures which would enable the publication, Mr. Summey secured enough additional subscribers to warrant going forward with the enterprise.

In addition to this, he has not only given his practised skill to the correction of the proofs, but the Index of the papers published is solely due to his generous labour. To him many thanks are due from all the friends of the undertaking and from all who shall receive the benefit of these sound and vigorous discussions of valuable truth. To the skilled labour of Mr. Robert Whittet, of the publishing firm, and his painstaking efforts to secure accuracy and tasteful execution in the mechanical make up of these volumes, many thanks are also due. At who have taken a share in the work of giving these volumes to the world are entitled to the satisfaction of feeling that they have aided in giving a wider and more enduring existence to defences and expositions of pure and invaluable truths—truths which take hold upon the great abiding interests of mankind-sound and strong expositions of Christian doctrine, and safe principles of ecclesiastical polity and philosophical theories grounded in common sense and in accord with the great evangelical system. These traits will appear to every judicious reader no less clearly than will the extraordinary ability with which they are presented. 

Praying for the abiding blessing of Him from whom all great and precious gifts descend upon his servants for the salvation of the world and the edification of his church, we commit these works to his hands, to accomplish all he may see fit to accomplish by them, both for the present and for many days to come.

C. R. V.