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drift of the Holy Scripture, which is to abase and pull down the pride of man, to make him even to despair of himself, and to advance and set up the glory of God's free

grace from the beginning to the end of man's salvation. His hand hath laid the foundation of his spiritual house, his hand shall also finish it.

The reverend and learned author of this book, hath received strength from God (like another Samson), to pull down this rotten house upon the head of those Philistines who would uphold it. Read it diligently, and I doubt not but

you
will
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There is such variety of choice matter running through every vein of each discourse here handled, and carried along with such strength of sound and deep judgment, and with such life and power of a heavenly spirit, and all expressed in such pithy and pregnant words of wisdom, that you will both delight in the reading, and praise God for the writer. That both he and it may be more and more profitable, shall be my hearty prayers.

The unworthiest of the ministers of the gospel,

with me,

STANLEY GOWER.

CHRISTIAN READER, Unto such alone are these directed. If all and every one in the world in this gospel-day did bear this precious name of Christian, or if the name of Christ were known to all, then were this compilation very improper, because it is distinguishing; but if God distinguish men and men, choose we or refuse we, so it is, and so it will be, there is a difference; a difference which God and Christ doth make of mere good pleasure.

This book contends earnestly for this truth against the error of universal redemption. With thy leave I cannot but call it an error, unless it had been, it were, and while the world continueth it should be, found indeed, that Adam and all that come of him, in a natural way of generation, are first set by Christ the second Adam in an estate of redeemed ones and made Christians; and then they fall whole nations of them, and forfeit that estate also, and lose their Christendom, and thereby it is come to pass, that they are become atheists, without God in the world, and Heathen, Jews, and Turks, as we see they are at this day.

The author of this book I know not so much as by name : it is of the book itself that I take upon me the boldness to write these few lines. It being delivered unto me to peruse, I did read it with delight and profit: with delight in the keenness of argument, clearness and fulness of answers, and candour in language; with profit in the vindication of abused Scriptures, the opening of obscure places, and chiefly in disclosing the hid mystery of God and the Father, and of Christ, in the glorious and gracious work of redemption. The like pleasure and profit this tractate promiseth to all diligent readers thereof. For the present controversy is so managed, that the doctrine of faith, which we ought to believe, is with dexterity plentifully taught; yea, the glory of each person in the unity of the Godhead about the work of redemption is distinctly held forth with shining splendour, and the error of the Arminians smitten in the jaw-bone, and the broachers of it bridled with bit and curb.

When on earth the blood can be without the water and the Spirit ; can witness alone, or can witness there where the water and the Spirit agree not to the record; when in heaven, the Word shall witness without the Father and the Holy Ghost; when the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost, shall not be one, as in essence, so in willing, working, witnessing the redemption of sinners; then shall universal redemption of all and every sinner by Christ be found a truth, though the Father elect them not, nor the Spirit of grace neither sanctify nor seal them. The glory of God's free and severing grace, and the salvation of the elect through the redemption that is in Jesus Christ (which is external, or none at all); are the unfeigned desires and utmost aims of all that are truly Christian. In pursuit of which desire and aims, I profess myself to be, for ever to serve thee,

Thine in Christ Jesus,

RICHARD BYFIELD.

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READER, Ir thou intendest to go any farther, I would entreat thee to stay here a little. If thou art, as many in this pretending age, a sign or title-gazer, and comest into books as Cato into the theatre, to go out again, thou hast had thy entertainment; farewell. With him that resolves a serious view of the following discourse, and really desireth satisfaction from the word and Christian reason, about the great things contained therein, I desire a few words in the portal. Divers things there are, of no small consideration to the business we have in hand, which I am persuaded thou canst not be unacquainted with, and therefore I will not trouble thee with a needless repetition of them.

I shall only crave thy leave to preface a little to the point in hand, and my present undertaking therein, with the result of some of my thoughts concerning the whole, after a more than seven years' serious inquiry (bottomed, I hope, upon the strength of Christ, and guided by his Spirit) into the mind of God about these things, with a serious perusal of all which I could attain, that the wit of man in former or latter days hath published in opposition to the truth; which I desire according to the measure of the gift received here to assert. Some things then as to the chief point in hand I would desire the reader to observe. As,

1. That the assertion of universal redemption, or the general ransom, so as to make it in the least measure beneficial for the end intended, goes not alone. Election of free grace, as the fountain of all following dispensations, all discriminating purposes of the Almighty, depending on his own good pleasure and will, must be removed out of the way. Hence those who would for the present, ‘Populo ut placerent quas fecere fabulas,'desirously retain some show of asserting the liberty of eternally distinguishing free grace, do themselves utterly raze, in respect of any fruit or profitable issue, the whole imaginary fabric of general redemption, which they had before erected. Some of these make the decree of election to be antecedaneous to the death of Christ (as themselves absurdly speak), or the decree of the death of Christ; then frame a twofold election,a one, of some to be the sons, the other, of the rest be servants; but this election of some to be servants, the Scripture calls reprobation, and speaks of it as the issue of hatred, or a purpose of rejection; Rom. ix. 11, 12. To be a servant in opposition to children and their liberty, is as high a curse as can be expressed; Gen. ix. 25. Is this Scripture election ? Besides, if Christ died to bring those he died for -unto the adoption and inheritance of children, what good could possibly redound to them thereby, who were predestinated before to be only servants ? Others make a general conditionate decree of redemption to be antecedaneous to election, which they assert to be the first discriminating purpose concerning the sons of men, and to depend on the alone good pleasure of God: that any others shall partake of the death of Christ or the fruits thereof, either unto grace or glory, but only those persons so elected, that they deny. Cui bono now? to what purpose serves the general ransom? but only to assert, that Almighty God would have the precious blood of his dear Son poured out for innumerable souls, whom he will not have to share in any drop thereof; and so in respect of them to be spilt in vain, or else to be shed for them, only that they might be the deeper damned. This fountain then of free

grace, this foundation of the new covenant, this bottom of all gospel dispensations, this fruitless womb of all eternally distinguishing mercies, the purpose of God according to election, must be opposed, slighted, blasphemed, that the figment of the sons of men may not appear to be truncus ficulnus, inutile lignum,' an unprofitable stock; and all the thoughts of the Most High, differencing between man and man, must be made to take occasion, say some, to be caused, say others, by their holy-self-spiritual endeavours :'Gratum opus agricolis,' a savoury sacrifice to the Roman Belus, a sacred orgie to the long bewailed manes of St. Pelagius.

And here, secondly, Free-will, amor et delitiæ humani generis,' corrupted nature's deformed darling, the Pallas or a T. M. Universality of free grace.

b Comro. Amirald. &c.

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