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them upon any ground, I prove by såfficient teftimoa nies from the Fathers and the Reformers, that the most eminent divines in the primitive church and our own, have passed the traits which I point out; espe: cially when they weigh'd the heavy anchor of prejud dieé, had a good gale of divine wisdom, and Iteerd by the chriftian mariner's compass (the word of God) more than by the false lights hung out by party-men,
If I have in any degree succeeded in the execution of this reconciling plan, I hope that my well-meant ata tempt will
pens to exèrt themselves ; and will excite more respectable divines to strike hea. vier blows, and to repeat them, till they have given the finishing stroke to divitions, which harden the world against christianity, which have torn the bosom of the church for above twelve hundred years, and which have hurt or destroyed nayriads of her injudicii ous children; driving some into pharifaic obedienees others into antinomian iminorality, and not a few into open infidelity or fierce uncharitableness.
If a tradesman is allowed to recommend his goods, when he does it in a manner consistent with modesty and truth, shall I be accused of self-conceit if I make fome commendatory remarks upon the following pa pers? I venture to do it in the fear of God. And
(1) They are plain. I deal in plain Reason and plain Scripture ; and when the depth of my subject obliges me to produce arguments that require close attention, I endeavour fo to manage them, that they do not rise above the reach of mechanics, nor fink beneath-the attention of divines.
(2) I have been charged with widening the breaches, which the demon of bigotry has inade among religia ous people; but, if I have done it, I take the Searcheo of heart's to witness, that it has been with such a de: fign, as made our Lord bring fire upon earth--the fire of truth, to burn the stubble of error, and to rekindle the flame of love. However, have I in years past made a wound rafhly (of which I am not yet con. Teious) in this book I bind it up, and bring the heal
ing, though [to proud or relaxed flesh) painful balsam,
, I forgive their hafty conclusion : I once more send
(3) I hope that notwithstanding the outcry raised againit my former Checks, they have been of some service to such readers as are not steeled against argu. ment and scripture ; but I flatter myself that, through God's blessing, this tract will be inore useful: I prefer it (at leaft] far above the others, because it has far more of God's word, far less of mine; the scriptures having so large a place in the following Sheets, that you will find whole Sections filled with balanced parsages, to which, for brevity's fake, I have added no. thing but a few illustrations in brackets ().
(4) My method, so far as I know, is new. I have seen several concordances, made of scripture words, but have not yet met with one of scripture doctrines upon the delicate subjects handled in this book. And I Hatter myself, that, as whatever throws light upon the bible, has always met with approbation from true Protestants, you will not despise this attempt to make the seeming contradictions of that precious book vanish away; by demonstrating, that they are only wise oppositions, not less important in the world of grace, than the distinction of man and wife is in the world of nature.
(5) I hope that you will see in the following pages, many passages placed in such a light, as to have their force heightened, and their obscurity removed by the
opposition of the scriptures with which they are ba.
Si callida verbum
he will, thro' God's grace, profit by his labour and mine. But, I repeat it, he must find out the delicate connection, and harmonious opposition of the paired seriptures which I produce, or my scales will be of as little service to him, as a pair of scale-bottoms without a beam would be to å banker, who wants to weigh a thoufand guineas.
(6) As I make my appeal to true Protestants, I lay a particular stress upon the Scriptures. And there I find a doctrine, which for a long succession of ages has been partly buried in the rubbish of Popery and Cal. vinism : I mean the do&trine of the various dispensations of divine grace towards the children of men ; or of the various talents of saving grace, which the Father of lights gives to Heathens, Jews and Christians. To the obscurity in which this doctrine has been kept, we may chiefly impute the felf-electing narrowness, and the wide-reprobating partiality of the Romish and Calvinian Churches. I make a constant use of this important doctrine. It is it chiefly, which distinguishes this tract from most polemical writings upon the same subject. It is my key and my sword. With it I open the mysteries of election and reprobation; and with it I attempt to cut the Gordian (should I not say ? the Calvinian and Pelagian, knot. How far I have succeeded, is yours to decide.
* If a delicate connection renders the word new to him.
If these general observations, Oye true Protestants, make you cast a favourable look upon my scales; and if after a close trial you find that they contain the reconciling truth, and the one compleat gospel of Christ, rent by Zelotes and Honeltus to make the two partial gospels of the day ; let me intreat you to low what you are, by boldly standing up for reason and scripture, that is, for true protestantism. Equally enter your pro: test against the antinomian innovations of Zelotes, and the pharifaic mistakes of Honeftus. These two champions have indeed their thousands, and tens of thou. fands at their feet: and they may unite their adverse forces to oppose you, as Jews and Gentiles did to oppose the Prince of peace. But, refift them with the armour of righteousness on the right hand and on the left, and you will in time make them friends to each other and to yourselves : I say in time, because when peaceful men rush between fierce combatants in order to part them, they at firf get nothing but blows: the confufion for a time increases; and idle spectators, who have not love and courage enough to rush into the danger, and to stop the mischief, say that the peace. makers only add fewel to the fire of discord. Thus are the couragious fons of peace hated of all men but b
of true Protestants, for treading in the steps of the di. vine Reconciler, whom the two rivals Herod and Pilate agreed to fet at nought--whom Jews and Gentiles concurred to crucify, inveterate enemies as they were to each other. He died, the loving reconciler--he died ! but by his death be few the enmity-broke down the middle wall of partition --- ot' tivain made one nezu man; fo making prace between Herod and Pilate, be tween Jews and Gentiles : And fo will
i gou, honoured brethren, between Zelotes and Honeftus, between the Calvinists and the Pelagians, between the Solifidiaus and the Moraliits ; if you lovingly and Iteadily try to reconcile them. You may indeed be numbered among transgrejers for attempting it. Your reputation inay even die between that of the fool and of the knave that of the cnthufiaft and of the felon: But be not afraid: truth and che crucified are on your hide. Godwill raise you fecret friends. A Joseph, a Nicodemus will take down the band writing that is against you :-* A Mary and a Solome will embalın your name ; and if it is buried in oblivion and reproach, yet it will rise again the third day.
If God is for you, fear not then what man can say of
you, or even do to you. Smile at antinomian preterition: Triumph in pharifaic reprobation : And when you
reviled for truth's fake, like blunt, re, solute, loving Stephen, kneel down, and pray that the fin of your mistaken opposers inay not be laid to their charge.- for the Proteftanı-fpirit which animated contefiors of old, carried martyrs singing to the stake, and there helped them to clap their hands in the fames kindled by the implacable abettors of error ! O for a Shadrach's resolution! The rich, glitrering image towers towards heaven, and vies with the meridian fun. Nebuchadnezzar, the monarch of the kings of the earth, points at the burning fiery furnace. The princes, governo is, captains, judges, counsellors, leritis, and rulers of provinces in all their dazzling magnificence, increase the glory of his terror. The found of the cornet, flute, harp, fackbut, psalrery, dulcimer,