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THE INTRODUCTORY

PREFA CE.

WILL

ILL the Supreme Judge of the world, in the last day, fentence us to everlafting life or punishment according to our characters formed in this ftate? So Christ hath exprefsly taught us; and it is of most interesting importance to every one, to know and realize it. This was the faith of the Jewish and Chriftian church in the days of inspiration. This hath been the common faith of the Chriftian church ever fince. This was the faith of our pious forefathers in this land; and hath been the undisputed faith of their pofterity, until the prefent age. And confidering the powerful, falutary tendency and influence of this doctrine, for the good of men in this world and world to come, is it not to be lamented, that this important article of the Christian faith, should be drawn into question? But fo it is. The contrary doctrine," that all men fhall be faved," is now exhibited to public examination. -A clear ftage-fair dealing and argumentation-we ask no more.-Great is the power of truth, and it will prevail.Chrift hath furnished his fervants with fufficient ability and faithfulness, from age to age, to vindicate the faith once delivered to the faints; and to unmask and expofe error, however disguised by art and fophifty; nor need we question it in the present or any future day.

When I read the pamphlet, intitled, "Salvation for all Men," printed in Boston, 1782, I viewed it as an opening wedge of controverfy; and thought it duty to turn my tho'ts upon the best method of defending the doctrine of the future pu nishment, as commonly received in the Chriftian world; which

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to me appeared, might as well be fupported as any doctrine of like importance, in divine revelation. The plan now exhibited, appeared well adapted to the purpose; and I had begun to write upon it before I knew of any anfwers to that pamphlet.. Several answers have fince appeared, which, in my judgment, are well executed upon their refpective plans : And more is faid than enough to anfwer that piece; the common faith is fubftantially fupported in them : But the controverfy doth not reft. A much more laboured treatise, in fupport of that impladed tenet, is imported among us, printed in London, 1784. It requires an anfwer-none hath yet appeared; and as the plan now exhibited, is very different from that of those who have gone before me, and on that account may give the reader an advantage to fee truth represented and error expofed in various points of view; it is thought this publication may be needful and useful.

The two first parts of it, have lain by me more than a year. Indeed, the fecond part was delivered in public discourses, in the fall 1783, in a time of uncommon general fickness in this place, which is the occafion of its appearance in the present form. Having turned my attention to the fubject, and not knowing that I fhould live to publifh any thing upon it, I thought it duty to endeavour to establish my hearers in a point of fo great importance. The public were notified in 1783, an ingenious work would be published, "wherein the fubject is exhaufted;" which I waited to fee till October, 1784. The third part, is chiefly taken up in a reply to this, which I fuppofe to be the anonymous treatise forementioned, intitled, "The mystery hid from ages and generations, made manifeft by gospel revelation: or, the falvation of all men the grand thing aimed at in the scheme of God, as opened in the NewTeftament writings, and entrusted with Jesus Christ to bring into effect" Printed in London, 1784. It contains 406 pages, exclufive of the preface. It is wrote with ingenuity and much labour, with a display of learning and critical genius, with an appearance of much candour and benevolence; but with a sufficient degree of contempt of the whole Christian

world,

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world, papal and proteftant, common annotators and Chriftian writers, who differ from the author; accompanied with a va→ riety of infinuating arguments of addrefs, plaufible argumentations, and pretenfions of good in the doctrine. Wherefore, if the author is mistaken, and it is fitted only to establish a ruinous error, the more plaufibly it is wrote, it becomes the more enfnaring and dangerous to the reader.

It may not be amifs, to give a sketch of the general scheme of doctrine in it; which I take to be this.-In refpect to the doctrine of the Trinity, it is Arianifm ;-respecting that of imputation, Socianifmm;-in refpect to the doctrines of grace as commonly called, Pelagianifm ;-in refpect to the intermediate state between death and the refurrection, fo far as I can collect the fentiment, it better agrees with the Muggletonians than the common christian doctrine ;-in refpect to the future judgment, it is fingular; it will be final, and there will be no other public judgment; and yet it will not be decifive by unalterably fixing the ftates of good or bad men; the fentences will never be reverfed by any future judgment; and yet will be temporary, and not of perpetual and everlasting force in refpect to the future state after the last judgment, his tranf mutation states better agrees with the notion of fome of the old heathens than with the chriftian fyftem, it being wholly unknown in the revelations of God.-And in his doctrine of purgatory, he furpaffes the popes, clergy, and church of Rome itfelf; for his begins after the laft judgment, when theirs is ended.

Whether these are the author's true fentiments, or only an adopted scheme to fupport the doctrine of Universal Salvation, is not fo material to me or the reader; nor is it my design to combat these principles any farther than the subject in debate is concerned; or the fettling the conftruction of fome difputed texts may require. But it is thus ftated with a view to these two remarks: One is, thofe who are fettled in the firm belief of the contrary articles of the chriftian faith, are in no great danger of becoming univerfalifts, on this plan; they would be great loofers by fuch a change: they muft facrifice doctrines of far greater importance than this filly error can be fuppofed

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to be. The other, and principal remark, is this: If this im pleaded tenet cannot be lupported upon this plan, it is in vain to hope for it upon any other whatever. The ingenuity and ability of this writer is inconteftible; and he hath spared no labor and pains in the caufe. He had all the world of doc tines, of truth and error to choose out of; and he hath taken his ftand of fupport and defence upon this foundation; and if he now fails of fupporting it, when enforced with all the aid of thofe learned men, Mr. Whifton, Scot, Hartly, Hallet, &c. and is re-enforced again with Gog and Magog, under the influence of the devil, introduced to bring up the rear of fupport to one important part of the scheme, it is in vain to hope it can ever be fupported upon any plan of doctrine whatever. In this fenfe, the fubject is truly exhaufted." This being by far the moft plaufibly wrote, in which their strength is collected, and "the fubject exhaufted;" fhould it fail of fupport, the univerfalifts, if wife, for their own fake, will not attempt to mend it, for the parts do now hang badly together, and fhould they joftle and alter the pofts and pillars of it, the fuperftructure certainly falls to ruin with its own weight. Whether it be now fupported, or is fupportable by any means whatever; the reader who carefully attends to the following work in all the parts of it, may be under fome advantage to judge. One thing, perhaps, fhould not be wholly paffed over, and may be noticed here, inafmuch as it did not naturally fall in any where in the last part. We are told, in order to the ad miffion of this scheme, "fome generally received doctrines must be given up, and that it is high time they fhould be renounced and others embraced in their room, more honourable to the father of mercies, and comfortable to the creatures whom his hands have formed." Page 14. What are the articles to be embraced in the room of thofe of the chriftian and protestant faith, which are to be renounced? Why, it feems, we are to receive it as a first principle, that the end of the creation of the moral world was the happiness of the creature; and that if God foreknew any of them (fay the devil and his angels and the finally wicked of mankind) would, by the abuse of their moral

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