A Variety of Seafonable and Important

Subjects in RELIGION.

By JONATHAN DICKINSON, A. M. Minifter of the Gospel at Elizabeth-Town, New Jersey.

To write the fame Things to you, to me indeed is not grievous, but for you it is fafe, Phil. iii. 1.

I have written briefly, exhorting and testifying, that this is the true grace of God wherein you ftand, 1 Pet.

V. 12.

-Even as our beloved Brother Paul alfo, according to the Wifdom given to him, hath written unto you. As alfo in all his Epiftles, Speaking in them of thefe Things, in which are fome Things hard to be underflood, which they that are unlearned and unstable, wreft, as they do alfo the other Scriptures unto their own Deftruction, 2 Pet. iii. 15, 16.


Printed in the Year M,DCC,LXXIL

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HE irregular heats and extravagancies of fome late pretenders to extraordinary attainments in religion, their imaginary divine impulfes, and extatick raptures, with other effects of their difordered fancies, have caft fuch a blemish upon the Chriftian profeffion in the eyes of unfettled and unthinking people; that it is well if too many are not in danger of calling Christianity itself into queftion, from the manifeftly falfe pretences, and enthufiaftick flights of fome, who have put in a claim to fo eminent experience in the divine life. It is therefore thought needful, as well as seasonable at this time, that a brief and plain confirmation of the Christian religion be fent abroad among our people, to establish them in the foundation of our eternal hope. This has been my fpecial motive to the publication of fome of the firft of the enfuing letters.

On the other hand, whether for want of duly diftinguishing between delufive appearances, and the genuine effects of an effufion of the HoLY SPIRIT, or from whatever caufe, fuch his been the violent oppofition of fome to the late revival of religion in the land, that the doctrines of Special grace and of experimental piety feem now by too many not only rejected and oppofed, but even treated with contempt, under the opprobrious character of new light; as if they had never before been heard of, or profeffed among us. This I take to be one of the darkest symptoms upon this land, that we have ever yet seen. It muft on that account be

not unfeasonable, to reprefent to our people in a clear and diftinct view, the experiences of vital religion, which are neceffary to conftitute them Chriftians indeed. This is aimed at in the publication of most of the following letters. The danger we are in of prevailing Antinomianifm, and the actual prevalence that it has already obtained (especially under the name of Moravianifm) in fome parts of the country, is a fufficient juftification of the attempt I have made to fet the foundation-error of the Antinomians in a true light; and to discover its dangerous tendency.

If any are inclined to cenfure me, for troubling the world with new difcourfes upon fuck fubjects as I had publickly treated on before; particularly the evidences of Christianity, the Jovereignty of divine grace, faith and juftification: They may confider, that these are most important points, and deferve the most particular illuftration, that there is at this time a fpecial call to remove the objections against them out of the way; and that this is now attempted in a different manner, from my former difcourfes on thefe fubjects; and, I truft, with 1ome additional evidence to the truth.

If any of my readers are fo curious as to en quire, to whom these letters were directed; it is fufficient anfwer, that they are now by the press directed to them; and if they can improve them to their fpiritual advantage, it will anfwer the end of their publication. May the bleffing of GOD attend them to this purpose !

J. D.

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