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mote my personal comfort and public usefulness. By this second marriage I have had six promising children, two sons and four daughters. These all lived to adult age, and for nearly thirty-four years, I had but little sickness, and no breach in my family. I had peace in my parish, and some considerable success in my ministry. God favored me with three spiritual harvests, or revivals of religion, which rendered my church about as large and flourishing as any in the vicinity. But my days of prosperity were followed by days of adversity. In the year 1813, I buried my second daughter, Deliverance. In the year 1820, I buried my second son, Erastus. In 1823, I buried my third daughter, Sarah. I have now one son and two daughters living, who have young and growing families. After these sore bereavements, I experienced no peculiar troubles in my family, or among my people. I uniformly carried on the work of the ministry. I statedly preached on the Sabbath, and occasionally in private houses. 'I visited the sick and attended funerals. I catechised the children and youths once a year, in eight or nine school districts in my extensive parish. I always attended, and generally preached at religious conferences, in times of revivals and from the year 1795 to the year 1813, I constantly preached a concert lecture once in three months. I constantly and punctually attended all my official duties for fifty-four years. But becoming more and more sensible of the common decays of nature and of the increasing infirmities of old age, I did, in 1827, entirely relinquish, and retire from all my ministerial labors, and opened the way for the settlement of another minister in my parish ; and accordingly Mr. Elam Smalley was settled here in July, 1829. Within a few weeks after Mr. Smalley's ordination, I was bereaved of my dear consort, who closed her pious, exemplary life in peace to herself and all her surviving friends. I now enjoy, as I have generally enjoyed, a good state of health, and have good reason to say, “ Hitherto the Lord hath helped me." I know the time of my departure is at hand; and I think I can say with some sincerity, I have fought a good fight, I have nearly finished my course, I have kept the faith, and cherish a comfortable hope, that I shall finally receive that crown of righteousness, which awaits all the faithful ministers and followers of Christ.
When I entered into the ministry, I resolved to discharge all the pastoral services, which are usually and justly expected of a minister, and to pursue such studies as I deemed the most intimately connected with my professional usefulness. Accordingly I began to read pretty freely and to think pretty closely upon some of the most important theological subjects, that had been long and warmly agitated among different denominations of christians. I imagined, that people were generally becoming more fond of superficial, than of doctrinal preaching, and were imperceptibly falling into a state of gross ignorance of the fundamental doctrines of the gospel. Viewing our churches and religious societies in this dangerous situation, I thought I ought to contend earnestly for the faith which was once delivered to the saints. This led me to preach doctrinally to my people for a number of years, before I durst venture to publish any thing that I had written or preached. But after having committed several essays and single discourses to the press, I published numerous sermons on various subjects, time after time, in separate volumes. My principal aim in these publications was, to explain the meaning, to demonstrate the truth, and to illustrate the consistency of the primary doctrines and duties of Christianity, and thereby distinguish true religion from false. I had no intention of starting any new scheme of divinity; for I was early and warmly attached to genuine Calvinism, which I believed to be built upon the firm foundation of the gospel itself. This system, I have ihought and still think, is the very form of sound words, which the apostles and their successors taught, long before Calvin was born; and which has been constantly maintained by those who have been justly called Orthodox, in distinction from Heterodox christians, ever since the first propagation of the Christian religion. But Calvinism has lost much of its purity and simplicity by going through so many unskilsul hands of its friends. This has given great advantages to its enemies, who have clearly discovered and successfully attacked some of its excrescences and protuberances. The Calvinists and Arminians are more directly and diametrically opposed to each other, than any other denominations of christians; and after many skirmishes together, they had long ago one great pitched battle, in which they concentrated their mutual attacks to a few cardinal points. These Dr. Price enumerates and reprobates in the following order and strongest terms.
" First, The doctrine of absolute predestination and election. " Secondly, The doctrine of original sin.
“ Thirdly, The doctrine of the total impotence of man, and irresistible grace, in opposition to free will.
“ Fourthly, The doctrine of particular, in opposition to universal redemption.
“ Fifthly, The doctrine of the perseverance of saints, after being once called and converted.
“ These five doctrines have been called, by way of distinction and eminence, the Five Points. They are the points about which the sect called Arminians, differ from Calvinists. But there is one other point connected with those now specified, which forms an essential part of this system, and which, in justice to it, ought to be mentioned. That is, the doctrine of justification by faith alone and the imputed righteousness of Christ. All the orthodox confessions of faith agree in declaring that we are accounted righteous before God, not for our good works, but only for the merit of Christ. In truth, were any man (supposed unacquainted with the controversies which have arisen among christians) to set himself to invent a system of faith so irrational and unscriptural as to be incapable of being received by christians, he could scarcely think of one concerning which he would be more ready to form such a judgment.”
It is not a little strange, that Dr. Price should venture to speak so reproachfully of Calvinism, when he knew that some of the greatest divines and metaphysicians in Europe had employed their profound learning and reasoning powers to maintain it; while others of equal learning and genius had labored in vain to overthrow it. The truth is, Calvinists have so ably and perseveringly supported their system of sentiments, that they have been, and still are, universally called the orthodox, in distinction from all other denominations of christians. This can be accounted for, only on the supposition that their scheme of doctrines stands upon a firm and immutable foundation. I know that some Calvinists maintain that the first sin of Adam is imputed to his posterity; that the righteousness of Christ is imputed to believers for their justification; that sinners are under natural inability to turn from sin to holiness; and that Christ made atonement for the elect only. I grant, these are gross absurdities, or mere wens and protuberances, which must be pared off from true Calvinism, in order to make it appear consistent with both reason and scripture. Accordingly, modern Calvinists readily surrender their formerly untenable outposts, and now find it more easy to defend their citadel against all
attacks of their most numerous adversaries. They are, indeed, attacked by all sectarians and errorists; who complain of them for tenaciously maintaining an unsociable religion, just as Jews and Gentiles complained of the primitive christians for maintaining the pure doctrines of the gospel, which were equally hostile to every false religion in the world. Those, therefore, who now understandingly embrace genuine Calvinism, which is a system composed of the essential and fundamental principles of pure Christianity, cannot consistently amalgamate with Arminians, Methodists, Antinomians, Sabellians, Arians, Socinians, or any species of Universalists and Enthusiasts. This is my settled opinion; and therefore I am surprised that so many, who call themselves orthodox, appear so fond of a coalition with other denominations of christians, who profess to hold systems of theology which are really opposite to, and subversive of genuine Calvinism. I have been a constant and an attentive observer of the late revolutions in the religious opinions of the clergy, the churches, and the people in New England and the United States. I have also been considerably acquainted with the various societies, which have been formed for the promotion of very important and laudable purposes. Some of these societies and some of their measures I highly approve and wish to promote. But I do not approve of any of them as national societies, and claiming a national authority to take the education of children out of the hands of parents; or assuming a national authority to superintend our academies, our colleges, our theological institutions, or our churches and their pastors. And if they persist in their claims, and succeed in their measures, I see nothing to prevent their establishing a national religion, and exercising an ecclesiastical dominion as arbitrary and dangerous as any that now exists in the Christian world. I believe it is my duty and the duty of all Calvinists and Congregationalists, to use all proper means and exertions to oppose and restrain every species of error and religious domination, which threatens to destroy our religious rights and liberties. The question now is, What can we do and what ought we to do, in order to obstruct and check the growth and spread of heresy and arbitrary power, among our churches and aspiring ecclesiastics? It appears from all ecclesiastical history, that orthodoxy has been maintained, and heterodoxy suppressed, not by uniting with the heterodox, but by fairly and boldly attacking them with the powerful weapons of scripture and reason. And these are the only proper weapons to be used by the orthodox against the heterodox at the present day. I know, that the heterodox have greatly the advantage of the orthodox, in respect to numbers, union, and national popularity. But great is the power of truth over error, and it will ultimately preFail. It certainly becomes all Calvinists and Congregationalists to contend earnestly for the faith which was once delivered unto them, by the first ministers and churches in New England. Harvard College, Yale College, Dartmouth College, and all Theological Institutions in Massachusetts and Connecticut, were founded by Calvinists and Congregationalists; and it is to be hoped, that some seeds of orthodoxy are still retained and cultivated in these early seats of learning and religion. The orthodox, therefore, have some ground to expect, that if they put on the whole armor of God, and magnanimously fight the good fight of faith, they may yet revive and support the sinking cause of orthodoxy and Christian liberty, in this day of declension, in this once well instructed and well governed nation.