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man, whom all who knew him must venerate and love, I never discovered the least disposition to consider it any way essential to correct views of Christian doctrine and piety. But the views of some in regard to this subject, seem now to be widely different. It may possibly originate from an unhappy jealous sensibility in my own temper, but certainly so it appears to be. This new theory sometimes seems disposed to arrogate to itself the glory of some wonderful improvements in divinity, and to assign those a low place in the church of God, as to wisdom and discerninent, who do not apprehend the truth and importance of this novel speculation; for novel it most certainly is. Well do I remember the time, when Dr. E.'s Sermon on Phil. ii, 12, was handed about in manuscript; and it was then said, "the world was not prepared to receive the new divinity it contained; it is not yet time to publish it." But this is not all. Had I not a strong conviction, that this principle, connected with
some other speculations equally unfavorable to piety, have had a powerful influence to prejudice multitudes in this country against the Gospel; that it has aided the cause of infidelity, and especially that of Arminianism and Unitarianism, and that of Sectarians in general. Had I never heard candidates perplexed with this question before ordaining councils; had it never been affirmed in my hearing, that this notion of divine agency, had now become the line of demarcation between the friends of sound doctrine, and those who march under
the banner of its foes; that those who question the truth of the sentiment, are pleading the cause of the ungodly, and arming them against the government, universal and particular providence of God; that a denial of it comes but little short of Atheism; at least it can rise but little above Maniecheism; that the most distinguished and pious divines, and theological institutions, who do not make it a prominent feature in their instructions, are very lax in their principles,-nay, had it never been suggested, that the silence of great theologians, who do not adopt the theory, is owing to this, that they know it cannot be refuted, whether tested in the light of Philosophy or Scripture; had I never heard any such suggestions, I might have remained silent. And indeed if I had, still I might have deemed it my duty to have held my peace; for neither do any other divines, or divinity-schools, need my poor efforts to vindicate their principles or practice. But I am called to speak in selfdefence. A few thoughts on the subject, in a small volume of Sermons lately published under my name, have brought on me the frowns of some I greatly esteem. I ought, if possible, - to satisfy them, that I have a Scripture warrant for what I have advanced. Nor is this all: the theological atmosphere in which my lot is cast, is of such a nature, as possibly to generate the thought in a preacher's own charge, that if he shrinks back' from this grand point of philosophy, he can hardly be fit to instruct in any other doctrine.
In this state of things, I have, with great reluctance, been induced to obtrude my thoughts on the Christian public; and I appeal to the Church of New England, whether the cause I advocate is that of Christian truth and simplicity, or not. To speak with the independence and confidence of a christian, who has the Bible for his guide, I claim as my right. But if I speak in an angry or disrespectful manner of any man, let me bear the full weight of the censure I may deserve. This is my motto, "But speaking the truth in love." Eph. iv, 15. And this is my comment
“Cursed be the line, how well soe'er it flow,
Being confident I have nothing in view, but the advancement of pure evangelical truth and piety, I commit what I have written to the blessing of that great Being, who is able, and will overrule all things for his own glory.
If there be any, who have so completely surrendered
up their understanding, and even the Bible, to human systems, as to deem it, if not a kind of sacrilege, yet proof sufficient, that he, who presumes to question any of the positions of the great and admired authors of them, must be wrong if not impious:-persons of this description may think it refutation enough to recollect the name of a favorite writer; we do not expect they will be our readers. But of all others who may condescend to examine what we have advanced, we
would not only solicit their patience and candor, and an interest in their prayers, but the forgiveness of all they may discover amiss, in matter
Berkley, Nov. 23, 1819.
THE QUESTION STATED.
TIME and labor are utterly lost in any discussion, if we fail of that perspicuity which is necessary to give the reader a clear apprehension of the point in debate. If, through mistake, bis eye is fixed upon one position, while our object is to establish another, we may greatly injure him, by seeming to prove, what in fact is false, or to disprove, what in our own judgment is of high importance to be believed; or we may excite his disgust towards us as opposers of å doctrine, which rests on the fullest evidence, and so impair bis christian fellowship with us, and put it out of our power to be useful to him in future. Had this been duly attended to,-had persons in their religious conferences clearly perceived each other's meaning, and the point aimed at, a great deal of useless contention, heat and bitterness, would have been avoided.
If any one should condescend to read what follows in these sheets, I beseech him, therefore, here to pause and reflect, till he has obtained a clear idea of the question before us, if such a thing be possible from my manner of expression. It is too common a thing, for persons to connect with one question a