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Some readers will probably have sagacity enough to perceive, that if the views of divine things herein exbibited, be correct, they lead to practical conclu. sions of the most sweeping kind; and, perhaps, terrified at these practical conclusions, they may struggle against the principles. I am candid enough to declare, that I mean to support all those practical conclusions ; and to an extent which few of my readers can at all conjecture. This shall be done, by divine permission, in the second part of this treatise.
I present this little treatise to my Lord, a small, (such my dove-cotes afford,) but a very sincere thankoffering, for his kindness in showing me something of his truth.
I lay at the feet of my mother, the church, a few so. phisms, wrung from the fiend, by the least of all her sons, after a long conflict on that bloody field:—fed only with her milk, armed only with the panoply divine, encouraged only by my Lord. A thousand times my helmet was cleft in twain, and I lay stunned and bleeding; till he set me on my feet, healed my wound, put on a new helmet, and set me to again. I lay them at her feet; and Wo! Wo! Wo! to the man who shall give them back into his hand, to stab her and her babes.
I present it to those men whom God has appointed to rid his church of false philosophy, as a proof of ar. dent love, and high ambition to be among them.
Atque utinam ex vobis unus, vestrique, fuissem
I present it to Mr. M'C. as a proof that there is, at least, one man in the world, who will neither abuse
him, nor persecute him ; nor yet condemn him with a silent vote : but who will step into the field of investigation, and try to put him right. And now I do insist that he shall read this work over and over ; and weigh it thoroughly: that he shall not object to any little trifling matters, which he may think, and which probably are, wrong; but that he shall try to grasp the main argument; and if that be correct, let him acqui- . esce. Let him lay a reign on his impetuosity, and not draw a quill in reply for twelve months. A single act of rashness, and he's gone!
I present this little work to system-makers, to show them how very easy it is to create a great deal of trouble in this world of ours. If it requires so much toil to pull down a system, how immense must be the toil of building one !
I present it to young theologians, as a specimen of the cool and cautious manner in which divine truth ought to be investigated. For their sakes, I wish it were far less imperfect than it is. But such as it is, I must present it to them as such a specimen : and not a single nerve of mine will feel a thrill of mortification, should somebody antiquate my labours, by producing a more perfect specimen to-morrow.
And now it shall be my joy, that I have got this field to myself. In the social ranks I could have done nothing. All my fine selected positions would have been denied me; and the only weapons on which I trusted, would have been wrung from my hands, by my brother's arms.
To close the whole ; I have consulted my heart, and am sure that no offence to any human being has been intended in this publication. I have consulted my best judgment, and am told that no reasonable ground of
offence has been given. But if, after all, I must suffermy fortitude whispers in my ear; I have supported you under ten times worse evils than can come, incurred for ten times less than no offence, and I shall never forsake you in a good cause! Here, at least, I shall not be deceived. My motto is
η ιφι μαχεσθαι η απολλωναι
The opinions of men, their criticisms, their censures, and their applause, are, in reality, very little things. Their love, and their hatred, and their envy, will shortly have perished; neither will they have any more a portion, for ever, in any thing that is done under the sun. But divine truth-she trieth all things, and is herself tried of none ; she judgeth all, and is herself judged of none: times and seasons change, the opinions and doctrines, and systems of men revolve through endless mutations; but divine truth remains through all ages and generations immutable, the pure essential ray of the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, nor shadow of turning.
ΤΩ ΘΗΩ ΔΟΞΑ
END OF THE FIRST PART.
page 1, of the introduction, 8th line from the bottom, it is said that Mr. M'C. was “ deposed from the office of the holy ministry.” This is an error; the sentence was “ suspension from the exercise of his office."
Page 13, are the following words :-" The solution contemplated is, that Jesus did not descend from Adam by ordinary generation ; and that as ordinary generation is the bond which unites us to Adam, the extraordinary generation of our Lord prevented a federal union with Adam ; and acquitted him from any personal responsibility for Adam's conduct. And I acknowledge that this is the solution of the question given in the confessions, and catechisms, and formularies of all the Reformed Churches, and in the writings of the ablest divines.” Such is the impression on my mind, from what I have read on the subject. It would be well worthy the labour of some one, fond of theological reading, to trace the growth of the doctrines of reformation, from their first germ; and then to trace their decline, and its causes. I strongly suspect, that such a man would bring to light some precious discoveries, respecting the causes which have given so much diversity to men’s religious ideas, that one wonders sometimes whether all men be of the same species. Our religious opinions are strangely modified, by the philosophy, the superstitions, and the manners of our age. The common method of resolving a man's peculiar opinions into his pride, his love of fame, bis enmity to the truth, &c. has two inconveniences, which