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peculiarity of Situation, these thoughts have been penned; in the direct view of that eventful moment, when his Judges, and his Critics, will appear together with him at an eternally decisive Bar: and, if he has not given the most accurate statement of The Religion of the Bible, with all the assistance he could derive from close investigation, undisturbed solitude, and persevering application to “ The Father of lights,” he is utterly incapable of discerning what it is, or what it means.
The almost entombed tranquillity, in which his moments are gliding away, has afforded him this opportunity of taking a calm review of a System of sacred Truth, he has often contemplated—would he could say, with all that unceasing and holy estimation it justly merits ! and, notwithstanding the numerous defects, which superior Minds will easily discover, it will be acknowledged, he hopes, that he has erected an Edifice with artless simplicity; that, its Basis is, the
tion which infinite Wisdom itself has laid ; that, it is disfigured by no needless ornaments; that, it is illuminated only by the beams of " The Sun of righteousness ;" and, that nothing has been proclaimed in it, but the riches, and the glory, of
DIVINE GRACE *.
* He has therefore taken some pains to arrange in the most perfect order, and in one comprehensive scale, no less than thirty Arguments, to ascertain his grand Position that, Real Christianity is a Religion of Grace. Si non possint valere, ut dicit Quintilianus, quia magna sunt, valebunt quia multa sunt, quæ ad ejusdem rei probationem omnia spectant. So that, if, either from our own reasoning Powers, or from any public Instruction, we form to ourselves a different idea of Religion, it is perfectly clear to his understanding, that, it is not Christianity. And this he says, not for ihe gratification of any personal vanity, or conceit- un EVOITO but, for the Truth's sake. 2 Cor. xiii. 8.
Far be it from such a Writer, to entertain an idea so presumptuous, as that of conveying any information to the learned Students in either of our famous Universities : to which, they are supposed to retreat, for the special purpose of seeking and intermeddling in all Wisdom :" but if there should be such an irregular, such an unpardonable Anomaly, in those Seats of universal Science, as an academical Lounger, Idler, Trifler, Rambler, Saunterer, or fashionable Coxcomb, it might perchance be worth his while, in
He might perhaps have fainted in the prosecution of this humble attempt, had he not met with this ecouraging excitement in one of our public Journals. “ This is a subject”—alluding to religious instruction—“ respecting which, more than any other, we may say, Nil actum, si quid
some indolent, lazy moment, to pop into this Temple of Truth. Who can tell, but that he might pick up a sentiment, or two, in an easy, genteel, en-passant way, which may eventually turn to good account ! Possibly he might collect a hint, or so, which may assist him iy discovering the truth of Reason; the truth of Virtue; the truth of Pleasure; in a word, that Truth which is as immortal as its Author, Object, and End.
“ The love of Truth," says a great Philosopher, "is strong in every well-disposed Mind: but, men are prone to be led too much by Authority in their opinions; and there are persons in the world of so mean and abject a spirit, that they may be called mere beggars with regard to their opinions: through laziness and indifference about Truth, they leave to others the drudgery of digging for this commodity; they can have enough at second hand to serve their occasions. Their concern is not to know what is true, but what is said and thought on such and such subjects; and their understanding, like their Clothes, is cut according to the Fashion.”
superesset agendum. Still there are many persons, who require additional information upon their most important concerns, and an invigorated attention to their eternal interests. The various arts, which ingenious Self-love employs, to hide men from themselves, call for a diversified application of the means of counteraction. A display of The Standard of Truth does in reality, what is attributed in romance to the fabulous Shield and Ring—it dissipates the illusions of Self-complacence, and shews without disguise the true state of our disagreement with “ THE WORD of God.”
In conducting the Reader to this Temple, he might have been led a circuitous route through all the ancient Mythology of Egypt, India, Phænicia, Persia, and Greece : he might have been introduced, successively, to all the various Schools of the pythagorean, the stoical, and the atheistic Philosophy: but, has not our time been devoted to a much more valuable purpose-in elucidating the elementary principles of divine Revelation ? Taught by celestial Wisdom, what occasion have we to apply to the milesian Thales, the persian Zoroaster, the chinese Confucius, the samian Sage, the sublime Plato, 'or the acute and profound Aristotle ? From them, we may indeed collect some stores of human Learning; but, for The Science of Salvation, we must look to a very different quarter. To that quarter, I have been aiming to excite the utmost attention, in these leaves. Let them be judged only according to their Intent, and I am secure of the approving smile of every amiable, every candid, every benevolent Heart. In this pleasing hope, I retire from my honest, and disinterested, however unavailing Essay, to serve mankind, as to their highest interests-their immortal Concerns. And now,