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ed and valuable publications on these subjects. Should they be blessed to this end, the Author would be richly paid for his trouble, notwithstanding he may be severely handled by the busy critic.
The Author has added a letter to a friend, by the Rev. Charles Leslie; the candid perusal of which, he earnestly recommends to all those who doubt the reality of the miracles recorded in the Bible.
The subject of dispute is examined between Evangelical and Armenian Christians.
Lorenzo. It gives me many unhappy feelings, my good friend, to think you have embraced religious principles which I conceive contrary to the benevolence of the Deity, and, if promulgated, must have a very unhappy effect upon society.
Evander. I will assure you it is a source of grief to me, that we disagree in the fundamental doctrines of the gospel, while we so cordially
unite in other matters.
Lorenzo. It appears to me, if we lay aside all party prejudice, and follow reason and revelation, and carefully examine the subject, you would be convinced of your error, and embrace the true principles of religion.
Evander. Religious disputes generally prove unprofitable, by being carried on from wrong
This dialogue was divided into three, and published in the fourth volume of the Connecticut Evangelical Magazine; since which the author has made some alterations and additions, and changed the names of the disputants for reasons not neceffary to mention.
motives; and each, by contending for mastery in argument, loses the search of truth, which should be the only object of pursuit. It is common for disputants to have recourse to unfair means, which often ends in dissatisfaction.
Lorenzo. I am very sensible of the truth of your remarks, and for the same reason generally avoid every thing that leads to religious controversy; but we being well acquainted with each other's temper, and apprised of this general error, can take up the subject and canvass it coolly and fairly.
Evander. If we can agree to take the word of God for our guide, and examine the subject with an humble aim to find and embrace the truth, throwing the idea of victory and the establishment of a favourite theory out of the question, I will with all my heart undertake.
Lorenzo. Under these impressions, if you please, we will engage, and whenever we find ourselves on untenable ground, we will acknowledge our error and give up the point.
Evander. I think it proper, first, to state some general principles, in which we both agree, as a standard by which to try our arguments. Lorenzo. It is undoubtedly necessary. Evander. I presume we both agree in the truth and divine authority of the Scriptures.
Lorenzo. These we may take as an unerring guide.
Evander. Shall we take the present translation
as generally a good one, and quote it accordingly?
Lorenzo. I think it prudent; for the translators undoubtedly were better qualified for translating, than we are ourselves.
Exander. We have no reason to doubt but they were men as well versed in the original languages, and were as faithful and impartial as any at the present day. If we were to depend principally for evidence, to support any sentiment, on arguments drawn from the roots of the original languages, we should have strong reason to suspect that the sentiment was not agreeable to the plain tenor of the Scriptures.
Lorenzo. I fully believe in the justice of your remarks.
Evander. I trust we are agreed in the great truth of the being and perfections of God. Lorenzo. I presume we are.
Evander. You believe him self-existent, independent, eternal, and unchangeable in his being, infinite in knowledge, almighty in power, perfectly good in his nature, possessing every perfection that can render him lovely and amiable in the eyes of holy beings.
Lorenzo. Yes, I think this is the Scripture representation. I suppose you will agree, that every argument drawn from God's perfections must be of weight.
Evander. I fully agree that every argument which is fairly deduced from God's perfections
must be true. I presume you will further agree, that every thing which is revealed in the Scriptures we are bound to believe, even if it is above our comprehension: for instance, when they declare "there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost, and these three are one;" and that Christ commanded his disciples to preach to all men, "baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost;" which passages plainly represent God's existing in a trinity of persons, while in essence but one. The fact we are bound to believe, though the manner of the existence is infinitely above our comprehension.
Lorenzo. To this I agree, and every other point that is clearly revealed, by comparing Scripture with Scripture.
Evander. The way is now prepared to enter on the subject.
Lorenzo. How can you, consistently with reason and revelation, reconcile the perfections of God with the total depravity of all mankind by nature, which renders them unable to perform any good act? or believe that he should command them to do good, when they have no power to obey? or that he should, finally, determine to regenerate a certain number by his irresistible grace, let them do what they will, and make them heirs of glory, and determine the rest of