In sending forth a new and improved edition of this volume, I do not think it necessary to add anything to the original preface which I drew up when it first appeared.
The general principles which I asserted and maintained when I was much younger than I am now, 1 firmly assert and maintain in 1896. I find nothing tc retract, cancel, or withdraw in the nineteen papers which compose the volume.
I frankly admit, after careful examination of " Knots Untied," that I observe in its pages occasional sharp and strong expressions which perhaps I should not use if I wrote the book over again in the present year, But I think it better to make no change, and to leave the original language alone. I wish my readers to understand that the views which I held as a presbyter I still hold as a bishop; and I fear that any alteration might lead to misconstruction and misrepresentation.
That God may continue to bless the book and make it useful is my earnest prayer.
J. C. LIVERPOOL.
June 11, 189&
The volume now in the reader's hands requires a few words of explanation. It consists of nineteen papers on subjects which are matters of dispute among English Churchmen in the present day, systematically arranged. A moment's glance at the table of contents will show that there is hardly any point of theological controversy belonging to this era, which is not discussed, with more or less fulness, in these papers.
The doctrinal tone of the volume will be found distinctly and decidedly "Evangelical." I avow that, without hesitation, at the outset. The opinions expressed and advocated about the matters discussed, are those of an Evangelical Churchman. What That means every intelligent Englishman knows, and it is mere affectation to profess ignorance about the point. They are not popular opinions, I am aware, and are only held, perhaps, by a minority of the English clergy. But they are the only opinions which I can find in Holy Scripture, in the Thirty-nine Articles, in the Prayer-book fairly interpreted, in the works of the Reformers, or in the writings of the pre-Caroline divines. In the faith of these opinions I have lived for fifty-five years, and have seen no reason to be ashamed of them, however rudely they may have been assailed.
The object of sending forth this volume is to meet the want3 of those who may wish to see theological questions fully discussed and examined from an "Evangelical" standpoint, and complain that they cannot find a book that does this. There are hundreds of English Churchmen who will never look at a tract (though St. Paul's Epistles, when first sent forth, were only tracts), but are willing to read a volume. To them I offer this volume, and respectfully invite their attention to its contents. If it does nothing else, I hope it may convince some readers that in the controversies of this day the reasonings and arguments are not all on one side.
Whether the volume will do any good remains to be seen. At any rate it is an honest effort to untie some theological knots, and to supply some clear statements of truth from the standpoint of an Evangelical Churchman. That God may bless the effort, and make it useful to the cause of Christ and to the Church of England^is my earnest prayer. J. C. RYLE.