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INsteadof attempting to give any Character of the pious Author of the following»Letters, whose true Worth was well known in America, we shaH give our Readers the two following Paragraphs, which were published soon aster his Death; and only add, that we hope this Edition will be found more correct than any of the former two that have gone before it.
CHARACTER of Mr. Dickinson late President of the College of New-Jersey. Extracted from the Reverend Mr: Foxcroft of Boston, his Presace to Mr. Dickinson's second Vindication of God's Sovereign free Grace, printed at Boston, 1748.
7' / mufi be allowed to drop a Tear over my
quaintance.. and on the most valuable Accountst as a Scholar, a Christian, and a Divine of the firH Rank, in these Parts of the World. His Reasonableness of Christianity, his Scripture Bishop, his Scripture Doctrine, his Familiar Letters, shine among his Works that praife him in the Gates. and
endeared to me by a long Ac
embalm tmbalm his Memory. He had a Soulfirmed for Eftquiry, Penetration, accurate Judgment, and difnterested Attachment to Truth. With a natural Turn for Controvers,, he had a happy Government of his Pajions, and abhorred the perverse Difputings Jm eommon to Men of corrupt Minds: Nor did he, as is too customary with thofe of an argumentative Genius^ suffer the Eagerness of Contention to extinguish the
Fervours of Devotion, or of Brotherly-Love In
his Example he was truly a Credit to his Profession; by good Works adorning the DoMrine of
Grace, he was so zealous an Advocate for. He
had generous Sentiments with Regard to Freedom of Enquiry and private Judgment in Matters of Conscience aid Salvation, dete/ling all Persects' lion and Impoftions in Religion, and not approving Subscription to human Tests of Orthodoxy. Tet nevertheless, as one set for the Desence of the Gospel, be boldly consronted what he took to be Error, and knew not how to sit an idle Spectator, when he apprehended an Assault made on the Christian Faith. He could not bear the Thoughts of being found either a Traitor to the Cause of Christ, or a Cvward in it. Whenever he saw it openly invaded, or secretly undermined, hestood ready to appear in its Desence, without consulting his Ease or his Credit. As Bigotry and Party-Rage, Malevolence, Calumny and Censure, too frequently mingling with religious Disputes, were his Abhorrence, so he was an Enemy to temporifng Dissimulation, blind Clarity, politic Silence, and that false Moderation which sacrifices divine Revelations to human Friendships, and under Colour of Peace and Candour, gives up important Points of Gospel Doclrine to every Opposer, but still is consistent with difcovering a Malignity towards others that appear warm Desenders and constant Assert ers of thofe Evangelical Truths.
From From the Boston Gazette, 20. Ofl. 1747.
Elizabeth-Town hi New Jersey, 10. Oct. 1747. .
f\ JV Wednesday Morning died here, of a *S pleuretic Illness, that eminently learned, faithful and picus Minis er of the Gospel, and PreJiJerit of the Celledge «/'New-Jersey, the Reverend Mr. Jonathan Dickinson, in the both Year of his dge, -who had been Paftor of the first Presbyterian Church in this Town, for near 40 Tears, and was the Joy and Glory of it. In him conspicuously appeared thofe natural and acquired, moral and spiritual Endowments which constitute a truly excellent and valuable Man, a good Scholar, an eminent Divine, and a serious devout Christian. He was greatly adorned 'with the Gists and Graces of his heavenly Master, in the Light whereof he appeared as a Star ofsuperior Brightness and Inftuence in the Orb of the Church, which has sustained an unspeakable Lofs in his Death. He was of uncommon and very extensive t fefulness. He boldly appeared in Defence of the great and important Truths of our most holy Religion, and was a zealous Promoter of godly Practice and holy Living, and a bright Ornament to his Prosession. n Times and Cafes of Difficulty he was a ready, wise and able Counsellor. By his Death, oar insant College is deprived esthe Benefit of his superior Accomplifhments, which afforded a favourable Profpecl of its suture Profperity under his Inspection. As he lived desired of all, so never any Person in these Patts died more lamented.
TH E irregular Heatsmind Extravagancies of some late Pretenders to extraordinary Attain.* merits in Religion, their imaginary divine Impulses, rind extatic Raptures, with other Effects of their difordered Fancies, have cast such a Blemish upon the Chri ian Prosession, in the Eyes of unsettled and unthinking People, that ''tit well if too many are not in Danger of calling Christianity itself into Qpestien, from the manisestly false Pretences and entbust'' astic Flights of some who have put in a Claim task eminent Experience in the divine Lise.—// is therefore thought needful, as well as seasonable at thit Time, that a bries and plain Consirmation of the Christian Religion be sent abroad among our People, to establish them in the Foundation of our eternal Hope This has been my special Motive to the Publication of some of the first of the ensuing Letters.
On the other hand, whether for want of duly distinguishing between delusive Appearances and the genuine Effects of an Effusion of the Holy Spirit, or from whatever Cause)such has been the violent Opposition of some to the late Revival <?/'Keligion in the Land,that the Doctrines of special Grace, and of experimental Piety, seem now, by too many, not only rejected and opposed, but even treated with Contempts under the opprobrious Character of New Light, at if they had never besore been heard of or prosessed amonz us. This 1 take to be one of the darkest Symptoms upon this Land that we have ever yet seen.— It must on that Account not be unseasonable to resent to our People, in a clear and distinct View,