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JOSEPH BELLAMY, D. D.
FIRST PASTOR OF
THE CHURCH IN BETHLEM, CONN.
A MEMOIR OF HIS LIFE AND CHARACTER.
IN TWO VOLUMES.
DOCTRINAL TRACT AND BOOK SOCIETY.
Entered, according to act of Congress, in the year 1850, by
SEWALL HARDING, In the Clerk's Office of the District Court of the District of Massachusetts.
STEREOTYPED AT THE
BOSTON STEREOTYPE POUNDRY.
The Executive Committee of the Doctrinal Tract and Book Society, in prosecuting the design of its organization, offer to the public a new and inproved edition of the works of Dr. Bellamy, with an original and interesting memoir, prepared with much care and research, by Rev. Tryon Edwards, D. D., of New London. The Committee would also announce their intention to issue a series of books of like character, including some of the works of our Puritan Fathers, and of later distinguished divines of our country. In doing this, we do not feel responsible for every sentiment that may be advanced, as we do not presume to abridge their works, or to alter their phraseology. We leave each author to utter his own views, in his own way; that the public may have a knowledge, not only of their real sentiments, but also of their style of writing, and in some measure, the times in which they lived. We would have those eminent men, who contributed so much, by their stern integrity, their consistent piety, and their ardent attachment to the unadulterated truths of God's word, to give character and stability to our institutions, speak for themselves. We revere their memory, and praise God for such an ancestry. Their works contain excellencies which are not often found in the present issues from the press. Their intimate and living acquaintance with the Bible, their profound mode of thinking, the spiritual tone of their piety, and their masterly discussions of the principles which have given character to the churches of New England, are scarcely less necessary to us, than they were to their contemporaries.
In the growth of our institutions, and the rapid increase of our population, many errors of pernicious tendency have come in, and it becomes needful to recur to those first principles, which occupied so much of the attention of our fathers, and which they regarded as indispensable to the peace, purity, and prosperity of the churches.
There is an extensive and growing conviction, among wise and good men, of the desirableness of republishing the works of the chief fathers of New England. And what better monument than this could, in these days, be reared to the memory of those profound scholars and theologians, or what better could be done to perpetuate their influence in the churches of our land ? To transmit to succeeding generations their testimony, seems to us to be a solemn duty, inasmuch as we owe to them a large debt, not merely a denominational, but a national debt of gratitude; for some of them founded, not only our churches, but virtually our commonwealth. And whatever remains among us that is lovely and of good report, whether in private character, or in social and public happiness, had its origin, in no inconsiderable degree, with our Puritan fathers.
In editing the works of Bellamy, the Committee are deeply impressed with a sense of his power as a writer. His True Religion Delineated, and his Treatise on the Wisdom of God in the Permission of Sin, are extraordinary productions, and well adapted to every period of time. His articles on Early Piety, and on Family Religion, are fitted alike to impress the young with a sense of duty, and to aid parents in the government and instruction of their households. His other articles, some of which were called forth by the errors of his day, not only give us an interesting view of the theology of his time, but furnish us with very val. uable theological distinctions and discussions. The works of Bellamy are eminently doctrinal, and eminently practical. The well read theologian, as also every Christian head of a family, and every intelligent church member, may derive from their perusal much valuable instruction.
Some of the articles in this edition have passed through several editions, in this and in other countries. All of them, however, have been so long out of print, that for years it has been almost impossible to procure a copy. This fact, and their eminent fitness to do good, have led to the issue of this edition, containing some additional matter from original manuscripts. The edition published in New York, nearly half a century ago, had prefixed to it a recommendation by some of the most prominent divines of that day, in which they say, “ His ability to illustrate the truths of the gospel, and to trace them through all their connections and dependencies, and to impress them on the conscience and heart, has been possessed by few. We consider him as one of the most distinguished and useful writers of the last age. And while men are found eager rather to obtain elevated views of the gospel and kingdom of Christ, and the feeling of enlightened and sublime devotion, than to gratify a mere literary taste, the writings of Dr. Bellamy will never be neglected. They appear to us eminently calculated to promote the knowledge of God in the world, and to make men wise, good, and happy."
The reviewers of True Religion Delineated, in the London Evangelical Magazine, say, “ The value of Dr. Bellamy's writings is already well known to the religious world; but we are obliged to the Rev. Andrew Fuller, for his history and recommendations of this work, which we hope will introduce it to those persons who are yet unacquainted with it. The author's leading object is to discriminate between the Law and the Gospel, and to define and illustrate the duties which they respectively require. We hope that the circulation of this volume will be as extensive as its contents are interesting and important, and that students of divinity, especially, will avail themselves of the information which it contains."
With these views the Committee fully accord; and believing that the work we now issue is well fitted to detect error and delusion, to exhibit and enforce the pure and distinguishing doctrines of the gospel, to direct inquiring souls, and to edify, comfort, and establish experienced Christians, we now commit it to the public, with the prayer that a divine blessing may go with it, and make it the means of spiritual life and salvation to many souls.
Boston, January, 1850.