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AS E R M ONS:
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TO DISCREDIT THE MAIN TRUTH'S
CONTAINED IN THESE DISCOURSES,
By Nathanael Whitaker, D. D..
“ Stand ye in the Ways and fee, and all for the old Paths ; where is the good
Way, and walk tberein, and ye shall find Rett for your Souls : But they said,
SALE M, New-ENGLAND:
'T'IS hoped the Subscribers will readily
excuse the delay of this publication, and also its appearing on fo mean a paper; as the first has been occasioned only by repeated disappointments in procuring the paper, arising from its scarcity ; and the last could not be remedied, and a better paper obtained, without further delay ; and’tis not doubted but those who are concerned to find the truth more than to please the fancy, will make no difficulty in excufing this defeet, which perhaps is the least; far less, I am sure, than many the author is conscious of in himself.
TO THE SECOND EDITION OF THE SERMONS. THE following Sermons were preached in England, I and published at the desire of many who beard ibem.
Before they were put to the press, they were revised and corrected by two ministers of note and learning in London. They were left in the bands of one of obem when I came from thence, whom I desired to examine, and expunge any thing be pould think amiss in them, and then, if he tbought proper, put them to the press. It was above fix months after my arrival in America before I beard any thing farther about them ; when only fifty copies were sent me by the bookseller, as a present for the original. These I distributed to friends in New Jersey, New York, ConneEti. cut and Masachusetts, and by some means the Rev. William Hart of Say-brook in ConneEticut came to the knowledge of them. And only these fifty copies has filled bim with such fear left the churches bould be poisoned by them, as to ex. cite him to write bis dialogue and warn " the churches and covenant people to bear their testimony against them”
In his preface he tells us, " Tis error, burtful error, I " contend against, not men,” I don't doubt bis thinking so, but am sorry be bas broached, and done bis best to support, so many errors of a very dangerous nature, some of which are pointed out in the appendix. I do not blame Mr. H. for the concern be rews at the prevalence of error: I beartily wish there were more of this, both gmong ministers and churches, who ought to awake from their sumbers, when the great reformation doetrines are opposed, and such a flood of errors breaking in upon us. ?
As As Mr. S. Hopkins's enquiry wrote against Dr. Maybewo of Boston is spread thro' the country,and must be owned on all sides to be a masterly performance, though very full of what Mr. H. calls error, and wrote with a design to fupport it; one would bave shought Mr. H's zeal would have led him to have read and made that the chief objeet of his opposition ; and not two poor Sermons which were only in fifty bands. But perhaps for this reason be chose these: or it may be be bad beard that Hopkins, as be politely and genteely calls him once and again, is a veteran, and bas conquered rore powerful antagonists; and therefore chose only to touch him on bear-fay as be pased along with out coming to a close engagement, or so much as examining bis piece.
I beartily wish Mr. H. had managed ihe controversy in d manner lefs Nighty and fuper ficial When I heard be was about to write, I hoped from the account I had beard of him he would have cast Tome light on the subjects, of which I bad treated in my sermons. But I was greatly disappointed when I read bis book, which has not discovered him to be either a logician, metaphysician, philolopher or divine. The great advantage bis book has against my ermons is, that it is wrote to suit the caste, and taulier the pride and corruption of depraved nature, which readily admits and extols those fintiments which encourage self-conceit. But for this, instead of answering, I mould only have re-printed my Jermons with a fer corretions, and so left them to speak for themselves, which they could not do while unknown to the most who mdy read his dialogue. The whole controversy between us may be brought to this fingle question, viz. Is man by nature totally depraved ? This i affirm, and be denies. I esteem this a doEtrine of essential importance in the christian system; and he thinks it as absurd as the doctrines of Rome.
One thing in his preface gives me surprize, viz. “ The " following dialogue bas been foewn to most of the gentle" then in the ministry in my neighbourhood, who have given " it me as their opinion, that it is necessary to bear a pub
" lick teftimony against the dangerous errors which are - " fpreading among our churches, and that the following
“ testimony is so calculated to serve the interest of trutbibat “ it will be for the edification of the churches to publife it."
My acquaintance with a nuinber of those gentlemen led me, on reading this, to fufpet that some grofs error bad been discovered in my sermons that I was not aware of : but when I read the dialogue, I could not but doubt the truth of ibis affertion; and the enquiry forced itself upon me, Is this posble? Are the Rev. Mefrs. T broop, Jewet, Johnson, Beckwith and Huntington, with whom I am acquainted ; all of whom, with some others, are of his associalion ; are all these who have appeared found Calvinists, turned quite about, and become advocates for man's sufficiency 2 Il can. not be. It is more charitable 10 believe Mr. H. has come mitted an error in this, than to condemn so many who bave appeared friends of the do&trines of free grace. But if this indeed is the case that the most of his neighbouring ministers. do approve bis sentiments, it ought, in my judgment, to be a matter of lamentation to all the lovers of the ancient gofpel, and found an alarm to the churches in that neis kbourhood, and rouse them up to make a vigorous stand against a deluge of Arminian errors which are coming on them, and muft foon overspread them if they continue under the infium ence and guidance of Arminian teachers. May the great Head of ibe church mercifully interpose and dispel this dark cloud which, if Mr. H's account is true, is just ready to burft and spread ruin and destruction in Neu-ngland, and especially in the western division of New-London in Cone neaticut.
I bave endeavoured to avoid perfonal refleElions on my antagonist, and therefore bave let pass some tbings in his dia. logue which look as though he “contended against men and not hurtful error,"as unworthy of notice, and as tending to bitterness and strife : And tho I rank Mr. H. among Arminians yet I suppose be cannot call this a perfural refe&tion, jince he so fully bolds and openly deiends their most fundainental errors. if I kave in any iking misrepresented Mr.'