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vol. VIL - !
IV An Essay on Truth, or, A rational Vindica-
B R I S T OL:
(Price One Shilling and Sixpence.)
'HE first piece of this Check was designed
for a preface to the Discourse that follows it; but as it swelled far beyond my intention, I present it to the Reader under the name of An historical Ejay; which makes way for the tracts that follow.
II. With respect to the Discourse, I must mention what engages me to publish it. In 1771 I saw the propositions called the Minutes. Their author invited me to review the whole affair.". I did fo; and soon found, that I had “ leaned too much towards Calvi. nism,” which, after a mature consideration, appeared to me exactly to coincide with speculative Antinomianism; and the same year I publicly acknowledged my error in these words :
ós Bụt whence springs this almost general Antino"mianism of our congregations ? Shall I conceal the “.fore because it festers in my own breaft? Shall I be "partial? No: in the name of Him, who is no re“specter of persons, I will confess my fin, and that
many of my brethren, &c. -- Is not the Antino"mianilm of hearers fomented by that of preachers? “ Does it not become us to take the greatest part of 6 the blame upon ourselves, according to the old " adage, Like priest, like people? Is it surprising that “ some of us should have an Antinomian audience ? “ Do we not make or keep it so? When did we “ preach such a practical sermon, as that of our Lord 6. on the mount? Or write such clofe letters, as the " epistles of St. John?” Second Check, p. 64 and 65, to the end of the paragraph.
When I had thus openly confessed, that I was involved in the guilt of many of my brethren, and that I had so leaned towards speculative, as not to have made a proper stand against pra&tical Antinomianism; who could have thought, that one of my most formi
dable opponents would have attempted to screen his mistake, behind such passages of a manuscript sermon, which I preached twelve years ago; and of which, by some means or other, he has got a copy ? I am very
far however from recanting that old discourse. I fill think, the doctrine it contains excellent in the main, and very proper to be enforced [tho’in a more guarded manner in a congregation of hearers violently prejudiced against the first gospel-axiom. Therefore, out of regard for the grand, leading truth of Christianity, and in compliance with Mr. H-ll's carnefi intreaty, [Fin. Stroke, p. 45.) I send my fermon into the world, upon the following reasonable condicions: (1.) That I shall be allowed to publish it, as I preached it a year ago in my church; namely, with additions in brackets, to make it at once a fuller check to Pharisaism, and a finishing cheek to Antinomianism: (2.) That the largest addition shall be in favour of free grace: (3.) That no body fall accuse me of forgery, for thus adding my present light to that which I had formerly; and for thus bringing out of my little treasure of experience things new and old : (4.) That the press shall not groan with the charge of difingenuity, if I throw into notes fome unguarded express fions, which I formerly used without fcruple, and which my more enlightened conscience does not suffer me to use at present: (5.) That my opponent's call to print my sermon, will procure me the pardon of the public, for presenting them with a plain, blunt discourse, composed for an audience chiefly made up of colliers and rustics: and lastly, That as I understand English a little better than I did twelve years ago, I shall be permitted to re&tify a few French idioms, which I find in my old manuscript ;
and to connect my thoughts a little more like an Englishman, where I can do it without the least misrepresentation of the sense.
If these conditions appear unreasonable to those, who will have heaven itself without any condition, I abolish the distinction between my old fermon, and the additions that guard or strengthen it; and refer.
P R E F A CE..
ring the reader to the title page, I publish my discourse on Rom. xi.
5. 6. as a guarded sermon, delivered in my church on Sunday, April the 18th, &c. 1773, exadly eleven years after I preached upon the same text a fermon useful upon the whole, but in fome places unguarded, and deficient with respect to the variety of arguments and motives, by which the ca. pital doctrines of free grace and gospel obedience ought to be enforced,
III. With regard to the SCRIPTURAL Essay upon the rewardableness, or evangelical worthiness of works, I fall just observe, that it attacks the grand mistake of the Solifidians, countenanced by three or four words of my old fermon. I pour a flood of scriptures upon it; and after receiving the fire of my objector, I return it in a variety of scriptural and rational answers, about the solidity of which the public must decide.
IV. The Essay ON TRUTH will, I hope, reconcile judicious moralists to the doctrine of salvation by faith, and considerate Solifidians to the doctrine of salvation by the works of faith; reason and scripture concurring to show the constant dependance of works upon faith ; and the wonderful agreement of the doctrine: of present salvation by TRUE faith, with the doctrine of eternal salvation by GOOD works.
* I hope, that I do not diffent, in my observations upon faith, either from our church, or approved gola pel-ministers. In their highest definitions of that grace, they consider it only according to the fulness of the Christian dispensation; but my subject has obliged me to consider it also according to the dispensations of John the Baptist, Moses, and Noah. Believers, under these inferior dispensations, have not always affurance; nor is the assurance they sometimes have so bright as that of adultChristians, Matt. xi. 11. But undoubtedly assurance is inseparably connected with the faith of the Christian dispensation, which was not fully opened till Christ opened his glorious baptism on the day of pentecost, and till his spiritual kingdom was set up with power in the heart of his people. No body there-A 3