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Before I commence my intended Course of Lectures, it may be proper to apologize to the University for giving them in English, since former Margaret Professors gave Lectures, namely, the few which they did give, in Latin. When this Professorship was founded, all Lectures were given in Latin. But this custom, in regard to other Lectures, has been long abolished: and even in the foreign Universities, at least in the Protestant Universities with which I am acquainted, it is now usual for Professors of Divinity to lecture, not in Latin, but in the language of the country. No reason therefore can be assigned, why an exception should be made in the solitary instance of Lady Margaret's Professor of Divinity, especially as the Foundress herself, in the deed of foundation, has prescribed no rules in respect to the language of the Lecture. It is not with the view of saving mxself trouble, that I propose to depart from this custom of my predecessors: for, if we may judge from their experience, two or three lectures, if written in Latin, would suffice for the whole time of holding the Professorship. A Latin Lecture in Divinity is a sort of Concio ad Clerum: and we all know that, whoever be the preacher, a Concio ad Clerum is delivered to an empty pit, and to empty galleries. The mere garb of learning has long ceased to be imposing: it is information, and not parade, which men now require, and they require it through that medium, which conveys it to them with the greatest ease and perspicuity. It is no wonder therefore that Latin lectures are deserted, or that former Margaret Professors have read without an audience. Now, if no one attends the lectures of the Margaret Professor, it cannot be his duty, indeed it would be absurd, to continue to deliver them. In this manner the most valuable Professorship in the gift of the University has been gradually converted into a sinecure. But as I do not desire that it should remain so, as I would rather perform the duties of my office, than seek for a pretext to evade them, I hope the University will excuse my addressing them in a language, which alone can enable me to obtain an audience, alone therefore enable me to do my duty.
Another deviation from the custom of my predecessors I should have left unnoticed, were it not that every deviation from former practice is liable to give offence. It is well known, that my predecessors, when they gave lectures, read them from the professorial chair; and without doubt it was originally intended, that divinity lectures should be given in the divinity schools. It was also intended that lectures in law and physic should be given in the schools, which are appropriated to those faculties. But who would ever censure a Professor of law or physic for giving lectures elsewhere? And with respect even to divinity,