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District of Pennsylvania, to wit:
BE IT REMEMBERED, that on the fifteenth day of SEAL. May, in the forty-first year of the independence of the United
States of America, A. D. 1817, James R. Willson, A M of
the said district, hath deposited in this office the title of a book, the right whereof he claims as author, in the words following, to wit: “ A Historical Sketch of Opinions on the Atonement, interspersed with
Biographical Notices of the Leading Doctors, and outlines of the sections of the church, from the incarnation of Christ, to the present time; with Translations from Francis Turrettin, on the Atonement By James R. Willson, A M. Daniel ix. 26 IS ?'89 von 'Os acepadolin δια τα παραπτώματα ημών, και ηγέρθη δια την δικαιωσιν ημών. Romans iv. 25.
In conformity to the act of the Congress of the United States, entituled, "An act for the encouragement of learning, by securing the copies of maps, charts, and books, to the authors and proprietors of such copies, during the times therein mentioned,” and also to the act, entitled, “ An act for the encouragement of learning, by securing the copies of maps, charts, and books, to the authors and proprietors of such copies during the times therein mentioned," and extended the benefits thereof to the arts of designing, engraving, and etching historical and other prints.”
D. CALDWELL, Clerk of the
District of Pennsylvania.
Tappan Presb. An, 1011-1932
REV. ALEXANDER MÅLEOD, D. D.
REV. AND DEAR FRIEND,
MOTIVES of personal friendship, respect, and obligation, together with public considerations, induce me to inscribe this volume to you.
The aid derived from your instructions in the prosecution of my literary, and theological studies, imposes obligations to esteem and gratitude, which render it proper that this essay, in defence of truth, should be inscribed to a friend and preceptor.
It is fit too, that an attempt to promote correct views of the Atonement, should be dedicated to one, who from the pulpit, and the press, and in private life, has exhibited the truth, and efficacy of this fundamental article of the Christian's faith and hope. The church has also appreciated the worth of your Ecclesiastical Catechism, which displays accurate and lucid views of the government and discipline of God's house;-of your Sermons on the Headship of Messiah over the Nations, on the Rights of Humanity, which have been so often, so long, and so grossly outraged, on the Ministry of Reconciliation, on the late War, and on the Life and Power of True Godliness;-and of your Lectures on the Revelations, unfolding from the prophetic scriptures, the past and present state of the Church of God, in relation to the empires of the earth; her future prospects; and the subserviency of all national movements, under the govern
ment of the Redeemer, to her interests. All these, together with your instrumentality in causing our New Testament Zion, “to lengthen her cords, strengthen her stakes, and stretch out the curtains of her habitation,” connect your name with the history of the church, by a tie that can never be broken, so long as her records are preserved.
That your useful life may be long spared;—that you may have health to complete the various theological works, which you contemplate;—that you may long continue to be a blessing to the flock of God, over whom the Holy Ghost has made you an overseer;" and that, “in a good old age you may be gathered to your fathers in peace,” is the earnest prayer
Your ever very sincere,
And affectionate friend,
J. R. WILLSON.
Philadelphia, May 6th, 1817.
THERE is a general agitation of the church, at the present time, in consequence of false views of the doctrine of the atonement. This subject just now excites peculiar attention in the American churches. Every city, every district, and almost every village, where there are any members of the family of God, is disturbed by a spirit of controversy. This were deeply to be regretted, by every pious disciple of Jesus, did we not know that however precious peace may be, truth is more precious.
The work now presented to the reader consists of two parts, Historical Sketches, and a Translation. In the Historial Sketches, the author has been advised by some, whose counsel deserves attention, to deal very gently with errorists. Nothing would have better accorded with his feelings, could he have believed that truth would be as effectually promoted by pursuing this course. This he could not believe. The Apostles and Reformers thought and acted differently from such counsellors. He has also been advised, by those on whose opinions he placed more reliance, to speak out with boldness and candor. He has done so. Whatever the “ friends of moderation” may think,' he hopes he shall never regret what he has done. We should know men as well as doctrines, and under this conviction, he has not spared to mention names and churches freely. Those who are advancing require gentleness. Those who are departing from the truth merit even severity.
He has not knowingly withheld, through fear or favour, any important fact, or wilfully perverted or discoloured any. Yet with all the pains he could take, mistakes may
have crept into his pages. When pointed out, if they exist, they will be corrected with great cheerfulness. To find the opinions of any man, or of any section of the church, better than he has thought them, will give him great pleasure.
In the translations from Turrettin, the translator has aimed at no more than to render the reasoning of his author perspicuous. In this he hopes he has succeeded. Many have attempted to translate parts of this system, but no one has before published, so far as the translator knows, any of his translations. Could he have availed himself of a version into German, French, or Italian, it would have assisted him much. But as none such is known to exist, he has been compelled to rely upon the original alone. The scholastic mode of reasoning, adopted by Turrettin, has not been followed. It has been thought sufficient to give the sense, without copying the phraseology.
The doctrines taught by the Genevan school, he believes, will bear the severest examination, when brought to the “ Law and the Testimony.” They have been blessed by God for the promotion of personal piety, and will yet be blessed for that end.
That both the reader and the writer of the following pages may have an interest in the atonement, which they are designed to defend, and may enjoy its fruits, through the tender mercy of the “ Author and Finisher of our faith," in mansions of glory, is the earnest prayer of the
AUTHOR. Philadelphia, May 6, 1817.