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covenant, and to get delivered from the curse of the covenant of works, and to enter into the covenant of grace, in reality and in truth. This therefore do without delay. And having done this, then make a public profession of religion, and join yourself to God's people, and bring your dear child and dedicate it to the same God to whom you have dedicated yourself. And let it be the business of your life to bring up that, and your other children, in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.
And now, as you travel through the country, for I understand you are become a great traveller, and gain admittance into all companies, and among men of all denominations and character, I advise you to use your utmost influence to diffuse a friendly spirit every where, among all your acquaintance, in this controversy. Particularly, urge it upon parishioners of your acquaintance, to treat their ministers in a respectful manner, while they apply to them for light and instruction, or when they undertake to dispute these points with them; especially, wherever your influence extends, let no man on our side of the question, treat his minister ill because he is in the opposite scheme. It is not manly, it is not Christianlike, it is not prudent, to do it. For there is no way to promote truth so effectually, as to hold forth light in love; and to treat your opponents in a kind and friendly manner. For my part, I have an high esteem for many in the ministry, who differ in their practice in the admission of persons to sealing ordinances for themselves and for their children, from what I think is right. For it is a controversy which has not been attended to, nor is it an easy thing, at once, to get rid of the prejudices of education, and in the face of a frowning world to espouse the true Scripture plan. I have great hopes, however, that ere long we shall think and act nearer alike, when there has been sufficient time to understand one another, to weigh and deliberate, to get rid of the prejudices of education, &c. &c. In the mean time, I most earnestly desire, that the controversy may be carried on, in the most open, fair, honest, cool, calm, friendly manner possible.
Who this letter-writer is, is not known by the public, as he has secreted his name. And whether it was with design,
or through inadvertance, that he hath given up the doctrine of total depravity, as held forth in Scripture and in our public formulas, I shall not determine. Perhaps, on second thoughts, he will retract every thing he hath said, which hath that aspect. I wish he may. But if it should come to pass, as I fear it will, that in the course of this controversy, numbers should openly fall off to the Arminian scheme, in order to defend their lax manner of admission to sealing ordinances, I advise you, to keep by you and to spread every where among your acquaintance, the Westminster Confession of Faith, and larger and shorter Catechisms: a book which will be of excellent service to teach people sound doctrine, and to guard them against Arminian errors.
To conclude: I shall always retain a most grateful sense of your kind treatment of your minister, when acting yourself, and be always ready to do every kind office in my power, which either you, or any other of my parishioners, shall need at my hands. I esteem it among the great blessings of my life, that I live in a parish, and among a people, so well disposed to treat a minister with that respect which is due to his office. And I hope you may never find me wanting in any instance of kind and friendly conduct towards you. I wish you the best of heaven's blessings. My dear parishioner,
EARLY PIETY RECOMMENDED ;
OBLIGATIONS TO EARLY PIETY,
NECESSITY OF RENOUNCING YOUTHFUL VANITY,
A DISCOURSE on Eccles. xii. 1.
DELIVERED AT STRATFIELD, OCTOBER 7, 1747.
Mat. vii. 13, 14. Enter ye in at the strait gate; for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat. Because strait is the gate, and narrow the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.