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daily rejoice in the testimony of their consciences, and in the happy fruits of their pious and assiduous labours ! .
May all those powers of this world which have usurped any authority belonging to our only rightful lord and king in his church become disposed to relinquish their unjust claims; and may those kings and princes who will not acknowledge the sovereignty of Jesus in his church, and especially those who obstinately oppose the reformation of it, be utterly confounded, and, by his power, be broken in pieces like a potter's vessel! Take to thyself, O Lord God Almighty, thy great power, and reign; and may the gospel of Jesus Christ go forth conquering and to conquer ! May the everlasting gospel, in its primitive purity, he preached to all that dwell on the earth, to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people! By the brightness of our Lord's appearance may the man of sin be utterly consumed, that all the kingdoms of this world may become the kingdoms of our Lord and of his Christ, and may he reign for ever and ever! .
In the mean time, may we thy faithful servants, in the patient waiting for this coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, be fearless and unwearied in asserting thy truth, be ready to lay hold of every favourable opportunity to promote it, and, more especially, be careful to recoinmend it by a suitable life and conversation ! May we distinguish ourselves by having the saine mind that was also in Christ Jesus, by ge. nuine. humility, meekness, forbearance, brotherly love, heavenly-mindedness, and habitual cheerful devotion ! that when our Lord shall return, and take account of his servants, we may be found without spot and blameless, and not be ashamed before him at his coming.
Now to thee who alone art eternal, immortal, and invisible, the only wise, living, and true God, be glory, through Jesus Christ, for ever and ever. Ameu.
This publication completes the scheme which was begun in the Appeal, and continued in the Triumph of Truth; being intended 10 be a plain and earnest address to the common people, and especially to those of them who have but little money to spare for the purchase of books, or time for the reading them.
I am not so little acquainted with human pature, as to expect any great success in this attempt to overturn long established errors ; and least of all can I hope to convince those who refuse to read, or to hear, (which is the case with too many,) on whom even miracles could produce no effect ; but the restoration of christianity to its primitive purity and efficacy, after so long and so radical a corruption, (which was foreseen and lamented by the inspired writers of the New Testamenty) is so great and so worthy an object, that every
man who has the interest of religion at heart will rejoice in every opportunity that Divine Providence affords him for promoting it, with respect to ever $0 few, or even a single individual, of his fellow-creatures.
A zeal for the truth, and even to contend earnestly for it, does, certainly, well become a christian. Since, however, the inspiring of a christian spirit is the great purpose to which purity of christian faith is subservient, 1 hope that, with respect to myself, I have been careful not to lose the end, while I have been contending for the means. Of this my reader may be a pretty good judge; since that zeal which arises from the love of truth, and of mankind, will easily be distinguished from that spirit which actuates those whom Paul calls the disputers of this world, a spirit which savours strongly of pride, hatred, and malice, and which often induces them to have recourse to unfair and unworthy artifices in order to gain a
Some persons think that in these publications I have attacked too many long established errors, and that it would have been more prudent to have attempted one thing at once, and to have proceeded gradually and gently. But it should be considered, that there are in the world persons in every possible state of mind with respect to these things; so that what will stagger some, is calculated to make the strongest and best impression: upon others. Since, therefore, every thing that is: published from the press must be distributed promiscuously, we can only take care that what we write be
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calculated to do good in general; and since a nice calculation of this kind is exceedingly difficult, it appears to me to be the best, upon the whole, for every person to endeavour to establish what appears to himself to be the whole truth, and not to trouble himself about any consequences. The gospel sower must cast his seed promiscuously on all kinds of ground, hoping that in some it may yield a good increase, though he must lay his account with its being lost, and even worse than lost, upon others.
I also think it an objection to the slow and cautious proceeding which some persons recommend, that the evidence of any truth is exhibited to the most advantage in connection with the whole system to which it belongs. Nor would I conclude that, because the minds of many are staggered by bold and undisguised representations of truth, this mode of proceeding is, upon the whole, less effectual. In many cases it may be the only method of gaining a sufficient degree of attention to a subject; and when this only is done, a great point is gained. The horror with which an offensive sentiment is viewed at first, may wear off by degrees, and a cool examination succeed. What could give more offence even to good minds than the manner in which Luther, and other reforniers, attacked the church of Rome? Any person would have imagined, à priori, that it could only offend and irritate. We must wait a considerable time before
we can form a judgement of the number of converts • that any person makes.
I cannot help expressing my surprise that so many persons, and especially of the clergy of the established,
church, should profess themselves Arminians, rejectilling the Calvinistic doctrines of election and reproba-,
tion, and yet entertain such a horror of Arianism or Socinianism, contending with the greatest earnestness for the divinity of Christ, and atonement for sin by his death; when it appears to me, that the literal in-, terpretation of the language of scripture (which is almost all that can be pleaded in favour of any of those opinions) is even more favourable to the former than to the latter, as, I should think, must appear to any
person who will attend to those which I have quoted it in this treatise. I know that I have found much more bir difficulty in my attempts to explain them. I consider lä it, however, as an undoubted sign of the progress of
just thinking in matters of religion, that the standard of orthodoxy is so much lower at present than it has been in former times.
Time was, and though I am not old I well re-, member the time, when Arminians would have been reckoned no better than Socinians by those who were reputed the orihodox of their day; and yet with what rage have some of these orthodox writers at-, tacked a brother heretic! How would the manes of those old champions smile to see us fall out by the way, when they were confident that we must all come to the same place of torment at last! And the furious zeal of those veterans was far more plausible, and re- .