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P R E . F A C E. i-" . HE irregular heats and extravagancies of . fome late prétenders to cxtraordinary attainments in religion, their imaginary divine impulses, and extatick raptures, with other effećts of their difordered fancies, have caft fuch a blemish upon the Christian profession in the : cycs of unfettled and unthinking people; that it is well if too many are not in danger of calling Christianity itself into question, from the manifestly falfe pretences, and enthufiastick flights of fome, who have put in a claim to fo eminent experience in the divine life. It is therefore thought needful, as well as feafonable at this time, that a brief and plain confirmation of the Christian religion be fent abroad among our people, to establish them in the foundation † of our eternal hope. This has been my special ' motive to the publication of fome of the firft |- of the enfuing letters. On the other hand, whether for want of du- : ly diffinguishing between delufive appearances, and the genuine effeếts of an effusion of the HoLY SPIRÈT, or from whatever caufe, fuch has been the violent opposition of fome to the late revival of religion in the land, that the doĉtrines of special gråce and of experimental piety feem now by too many not only rejećted ånd opPosed, but even treated with contempt, under :e opprobrious charaćter of new light ; as if :::y had never before been heard dř, or profeffed ainong us. This I take to be one of the darkest fymptoms upon this land, that we have " Yet feen. It muft on that account be - A 2
not unfeafonable, to represent to our people in a clear and diftinét view, the experientes of vital religion, which are neceffary to constitute them Christians indeed. This is aimed atin the publication of most of the followingletters. . The danger we are in of prevailing Antinomianism, and the aćtual prevalence that it has already obtained (especially under the name of Moraviani/in) in some parts of the country, is a fufficient justification of the attempt I have made to fet the foundation-error of the Antinomians in a true light; and to discover its dangerous tendency. · If any are inclined to cenfure me, for troubling the world with new difcourfes upon fuch fubjećts as I had publickly treated on before; particularly the evidences of Christianity, the /overeignty of divine grace, faith and justification: they may confider, that thefe are most important points, and deferve the moft particular illuftration, that there is at this time a special call to remove the objećtions against them out of the way; and that this is now attempted in a different manner, from my former diÁ courfes on these fubjećts ; and, I truft, wit fome additional evidence to the truth. If any of my readers are fo curious as to e quire, to whom thefe letters were direĜted ; is fufficient anfwer, that they are now by 1 prefs directed to them ; and if they can : them to their spiritual advantage, it wi fwer the end of their publication. May blefling of GOD attend them to this purp"
Letter I. H E Danger of Infidelity.
Let X. The Charasters in Rom. vii. distinĉtly illuf-
Let. XII. Imputed Righteoufne/ explained and vindi-
LETT ER I. Wherein the DANGER of INFIDELITY is briefly represented. S I R, . Heartily rejoice to hear from you, that you are at last come into a o refolution, immediately to enter * upon a ferious and impartial examination of the * Christian religion.” What you obferve is certainly true, that * this is an affair sł too great confequence, * to be carelefly neglećted, to be decided at the club, * or to be rejećted by wholefale, with the too common * arguments of mirth and raillery, fmeer and banter.’I should therefore be inexcufable, should I refufe a compliance with your request, to “ maintain a correspon* dence with you by letter; and affift you, what I can, in your inquiries into the truth of Christianity, the nature of the Christian institution, and the character and qualifications of thofe who are intitled to the rewards therein promifed.’ But what can a gentlemar, of your capacities expećt from me ? And has not this caufe been clearly and fully handled, efpecially of late, by a variety of authors ? Has it not triumphed over allopposition ? Have not its poor deluded oppofers been covered with shame and confufion, in all their feeble attempts to fubvert our faith, and to destroy the blefied hope of our future happinefs ? And are not thefe books in your hands ?—Read them, Sir, with that attention, which fuch an awful and important affair demands of you; and I think, you can’t fail of obtaining convićtion and fatisfaćtion. - . To your inquiry, “ How shall I first enter upon a B