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judgments of the church. Whereas on the other sidej the reformed churches have made no such provision to keep their people out of the way of temptation ; but on the contrary have put the scriptures into the vulgar tongue, and into the hands of their people, and charged it upon them as their duty to hear, read, and meditate upon them. Now
This makes the yoak still more' heavy, by lay~ ing such a temptation in our way. For when we read and consider such a text as this, Ezek. xxxiii. Ii. As I live, faith the Lord God, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked; but that the wicked turn from his way and live, Turn ye, turn ye, from your evil ways, for -why will ye die, O house of Israel. How hard and galling must it be for a considering christian, to be obliged to beleive and assert, that God has from eternity predestinated to damnation the greatest part of mankind; and that he created them for ho other end, but tq> glorify and display his absolute power arid sovereignty in their destruction. 1 fay, how hard must it be for a christian, when he reads and considers the asorefaid text, to be obliged to beleive and assert this, if the church, he is a member of, is so unhappy as to beleive and assert the fame;, and how great a temptation must a person be under to beleive and assert otherwise. From all which it appears, that if the laity of the reformed churches are not at liberty to examine the rule, the grounds, and reasons of.their faith, and like-r wise at liberty to dissent from the judgment of the church, in those things wherein it plainly appears to them that the church has departed from the truth, and to publish the grounds and reasons of that dissent, then we [viz, protestants) are in a much worse case, than the laity of the church of Rome; and we are put under a yoak, which neither we -nor our fathers^ were able to bear,
From the whole it appears, that in this , performance I have not gone over the bounds of my christian calling; but have only been in the practice of my duty, and in the exercise of my christian liberty: a liberty in which I think every protestant aught to stand fast, in opposition to the enchroachments of popish anti-christianism, which the protestant churches may be in danger of relapsing into. And
Thus much I have though^ proper to observe, that so I might prepare a way to propose to the clergy, and in particular to your lordship's consideration and protection, the following lines, by removing.those objections, which otherwise might jiave been an impediment to it.
It is a thing too well known for the clergy, or your lordship in particular, to be ignorant of, that the first great article of primitive christian faith, has been the subject of christian controversy, almost ever since christianity has had a being, and!' that it has ben particularly disputed about in this ^ge; many tongues and pens having been employed, both in preaching, writing, and conference, upon this subject. .1 therefore, having, out of my less ability pr scarcity, cast my mite ink to this common treasury: into which others, out pf their larger abilities or abundance, have cast in by handfuls, and now being to. offer it to publick view, the occasion and end of which I have already observed, I do with due humility and deserence beg leave, to offer and present it to the consideration, and, as far as it hath strength of argument, and truth on its side, to the protect i n, 9s the clergy* and. in particular to your lordship. £nd,
As in the trial of al I other causes, the stipe our strength of evidencies, which consists in thei numr |ifr, dcqpxfs, and creditx is, that \$hic\\ii\ justice, entitles either fide of the question to the verdict:; so I desire that Justice may take place in the present case. The evidence which I have produced , are arguments from scripture to prove, that the Son of God, our Lord Jesus Christ, - is a Being inseriour and subordinate to his God and Father; and that the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, is only and alone the supreme God. These evidences are in number eight; for clearness (not circumstantial dark, and doubtful, but) positive, full, express, and plain; and for credit, the infalli* able word of God. If a superiour, or at least an equal strength of evidence, cannot be produe'd on the other side, then I think my side of the question, is by the laws of common equity, entitled to the verdict. May every one, who shall think fit to examine this matter, have grace to do it with sincerity and impartiality, as injustice they ought to do, that so they may well and truly try this cause, and give their Judgment according to the evidence and so help our God.
Perhaps it may be looked upon, by some, as: an instance ol intolerable presumption and impudence in me, to offer and present this performance to the consideration and protection of so learned and' venerable a body. But surely this will be easily apologized for, by every gracious mind. Because as it is the duty and business of the clergy to use their best endeavours, towards the restoring chris. tianity to its original native purity and simplifity-; so it is alike their duty to encourage and protect all proper endeavours, used by others, towards' the attaining that end. And therefore, it must be a very unjust reflection, when such encourage ment and protection is called. for from them, to charge it with intolerable preiumption and impu denec. Truth surely has an undoubted right to. the clergy's protection, and therefore mo it ter
tainly the clergy of all other christians may be called upon, without either presumption or Impudence, to give it shelter.
May it please God to pour out abundantly of his spirit and grace, upon all that are, or shall be consecrated to him, in the facred ministry of his church, and particularly upon your lordship; that all of you may fill up the place and relation you are each one called to in the church of God. That you may become beautiful upon the mountains, bringing the glad tidings of peace and falvation i and may it please him to bring into being the happy day,- when mercy and truth shall meet together; when righteousness and peace shall kiss each other; when they shall not hurt nor destroy in all God's holy mountain when the mountain of the Lord's house shall be lifted up above the top of all the hills; when the knowledge of the Lord shall fill the earth, as the waters cover the sea; when the Lord shall rule and reign in Zion, and unto the ends of the earth ;' and when it shall be writfen, even upon the bells of the horses, holiness to the Lord. And may it please the good Lord God to hasten it in his time. I conclude with begging the clergy's and in particular your lordship's b^eifirig; and remain,
Tour Lordsrifs dutiful,
And affectionate- Servants
T O T H E
"Which was not in the two first Editions.
AS the design of the following arguments is to prove, or make good this proposition, viz. That the Son of God, our Lord Jesus Christ, is a Being inferiour, and Subordinate to the Father; and that the Father alone is the supreme God; so I have thought proper, byway of introduction, to state the notion, and shew in what sence' I understand the several terms, of which the" foregoing proposition is composed. And this I am inclined to do upon three accounts. First, Because if I should be in error, such error would be the better discovered,, and the more easily detected, For when we deliver our minds upon any subject, in a way which makes it doubtful to others, what we really intend by it, this is offering an injury to ourselves; because others become unqualified to offer vyhajt is proper for ourconvic^ tion. Again, secondly, I am inclined to it upon the account of my reader, that he might inot be perplexed or misled, by any thing which I might lay before him. Besides, tins procedure is persectly fair and equitable in it self; and that is a third reason for my acting in this way. To use words in .1 doubtful sence, that so when we are pressed in an argument, we may fly for sanctuary to what sence .;ve please, and thereby guard against the scree of