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it cherishes their independent feelings-fosters pride, and gives them an easy passport to heaven. All men are born Arminians. Pride and self confidence are characteristics of human nature. Hence, they are at heart opposed to the humbling doctrines of the gospel, and the most sophistical arguments in opposition to them received as sound and conclusive; while their feelings become more and more strongly enlisted in the cause of error. If, in the progress of truth, one generation, by special grace, be in a good degree redeemed from error; the next is found involved in the same thraldom. Every successive generation, must be successively redeemed from error, by essentially the same means; and all the labours of past ages, and past defenders of the faith, will avail only to furnish materials for renewed defence. The ground must be repeatedly gone over. ments which have again and again proved decisive, must again be applied. In manner and form they may be new modelled; but in substance, they are and must be the same.
Among other causes, powerfully cooperating to produce this necessity is the fact that men will always be found, disposed to take advantage of this obliquity of human nature, for the purpose of proselytism. It is well known that great pains are taken, and systematic measures pursued in the present day. The pulpit and the press are employed; and licentiate preachers of this stamp continually going forth --widely disseminating the pernicious doctrines of Arminius—misleading the ignorant and unthinking; sowing discord and division in churches, and de
nouncing as fools and formalists, the regular and orthodox pastors.
Such and so great are the evils existing, and threatening the interests of pure religion in our country; and these are the apologies offered for calling the attention of the Christian publick to the discussion presented in the following pages. The author confides not in his own talents, but in the force of divine truth—the candour of the pious—the authority of God's word—but above all, the blessing of his Spirit. True indeed the principles are of ancient date, and the chief arguments are those in substance which have been repeatedly and successfully advanced. But the occasion is new. A new generation has arisen, which reads not the writings of Hopkins, or Edwards. These have with the generality, gone into the lumber-room of old and obsolete authors; and the Pelagian spirit of human nature is manifesting itself, by unequivocal signs in some of our periodical publications, and theological seminaries.—Human efficiency, and self will are contaminating our revivals of religion. And now what is to be done, but to apply the balm of truth to those wounds, which will otherwise spread disease and death through the whole body. But while there is a cause of truth in the world, to be defended against the errors and abuses of corrupt nature, this militant state of things will continue. The millenium alone will end the controversy.
The author of the following pages has endeavoured to present a fair view of the arguments and objections of his opponents, and to meet those argu
ments and objections with sound logic and divine testimony. The epistolary form being more familiar, has been adopted—desiring that the attention of all may be drawn, to subjects in which all are deeply interested. The whole is committed to the Spirit of truth, with earnest prayer that it may in some degree contribute to promote the cause of evangelical piety, the salvation of men, and the glory of God.
The strivings of the divine Spirit, what-have no tendency to change
the sinner's heart-therefore consistent with hardening his heart.
Conviction, what—its design and benefit. God's will respects not his commands, but his purposes.
117. LETTER X. Universal Redemption examined, and shown to be unfounded in Scripture.
129. LETTER XI. Universal sufficiency of grace to destroy the power of sin no conse
quence of the atonement of Christ; and not taught in the word of God.
141. LETTER XII. The sovereignty of God consistent with the equity of his government.
His sovereignty distinguished from his independence. Discriminating grace asserted and defended.
153. LETTER XIII. Election consistent with the free and universal invitations of the gospel; and with the use and benefit of means.
164. LETTER XIV. The doctrine of election consistent with the divine impartiality. 174.
LETTER XV. The same subject continued—and the distinction between general and distributive justice stated and applied.
182. LETTER XVI. Conditional election; examined and its absurdity exposed. 193.
LETTER XVII. The doctrine of predestination has no tendency to licentiousness,
but to the greatest moral purity:-affording also the highest and only encouragement to the duty of prayer.
201. LETTER XVIII. The doctrine defended against sundry common cavils of its opposers-
and the correspondence closed with a solemn and affectionato exhortation.