Honourable and highly honoured, venerable and virtuous Mother,

I WISH electing love, sovereign mercy, promised peace, and the abundance of light, life, and comfort, ever to remain with thee and thy highly favoured fraternity.

Some time ago an anonymous pamphlet was sent to me by one of our stewards of the household, affirmed to be written by a Mr. Skinner, with an earnest request that I would publish an answer to the same; upon perusal of which I thought it required one, because the whole contents are levelled against our palaces, walls, towers, and bulwarks. The language of every free thought concerning Zion is, raze it, raze it, even to the foundation. The whole piece contains notions diametrically opposite to the doctrinal articles which he must have sworn to and subscribed, if ever he was li



censed; nor has he spoken as the oracles of God; nor do I believe that the contents of this pamphlet are consonant with the confession of faith that he delivered at his ordination; if they are, I am bold to affirm, that the presbytery did not bring his thoughts to the touchstone, nor sufficiently prove the free-thinker, but laid hands too suddenly on him. The person that can swear and subscribe to doctrines which he doth not believe; confess truth with his lips, and hug a lie in his heart; abjure the doctrines of popery with an oath, and then publish a defence of the same; declare that he believes in his conscience the doctrines of the protestant church, and then preach and write the sentiments of the popish, must be hardened to a dreadful degree, and past feeling; and if ever he was licensed, which as an obedient subject he ought to be, then he is the man. If a man takes no heed to himself, nor to his own conscience, he will take none to his doctrine; therefore there is little likelihood of his saving himself, or them that hear him; dissimulation is more worthy the pillory than the pulpit.

The author of this piece gives us to understand by his title, that he is a free-thinker, such as Paul was before he was called by grace; and he has acted with tongue and pen, as Paul did with his authority from the chief priest; who thought he ought to do many things contrary to the name of Jesus, which he also did, Acts xxvi. 9. And our author thinks he ought to speak and write many

things contrary to the doctrines and household of Jesus, which he also hath done.

God, who best knows the heart of man, has declared that the wickedness of man is great in the earth, and every imagination of the thoughts of man's heart is only evil continually, Gen. vi. 5. The scriptures intimate that every natural man, or free-thinker, will endeavour to debase his Maker to a level with himself, arraign his conduct at the bar of his reason; the mystery of his sovereign will must comport with the freedom of his, and the thoughts of God must run in the channel of his thoughts: "Thou thoughtest," says God, "that I was altogether such an one as thyself; but I will reprove thee, and set them [thy sins] in order before thine eyes. Now consider this, ye that forget God, lest I tear you in pieces, and there be none to deliver." Between the sovereign will of God, and the free-will of man, there is an infinite discomparison; and as infinite a distance between the good thoughts of God toward his elect, Jer. xxix. 11; and the thoughts of free-thinkers concerning themselves; "For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord; for as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts." Hence the free-thinker, who so often censures and condemns his Maker's counsel and conduct, is called an unrighteous man, and is commanded to forsake his thoughts before he presumes to approach his

Maker; Let the wicked man forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts, before he return unto the Lord, Isaiah lv. 7: but as this forsaking our free thoughts cannot be performed by free-will, or human power, the gospel furnishes Christ's ministers with weapons which are always attended with a divine power, where any good execution is done, and then this scouting party of free thoughts are taken prisoners, reduced to gospel obedience, and under a divine control they are taught to march in a narrower path, without breaking rank or order: "The weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds; casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ," 2 Cor. x. 4, 5. Under this divine. power, free thoughts lose their presumptuous liberty, and the tamed sinner becoming tractable will be ashamed, and complain of his thoughts and of their wretched freedom; and, instead of exposing them so freely, will expose his hatred of them; "I hate vain thoughts, but thy law do I love." Thus the free-thinker's intoxication submits to gospel sobriety: "For I say to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think soberly."

Our author styles himself a friend to all mankind. By the particle, all, I suppose he means not the heirs of promise, but the children of the flesh,

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