« PreviousContinue »
Author of the Letters on Theron and Afpafio, are de-
A N D
The Protestant Do&trine concerning the Covenant of Works
and the Covenant of Grace, Conviction of Sin, Regeneration,
V O L U ME S.
By DAVID WILSON.
Earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered
unto the saints, Jude, ver. 3.
L O N D ON:
Tappan Prest, ass
P R E F A C E.
HEN I first read the Letters on
Theron and Afpafio, published a few years ago, I soon perceived such a spirit breathing through the whole of that performance, as would make one suspect, that the author thereof had something else in view than to defend the pure doctrines of the gofpel, which he would have us believe is the chief scope of his book.
This Gentleman pretends that he has discovered in the Dialogues wrote by the late excellent Mr. Hervey, and in some celebrated treatises and sermons therein recommended, feveral dangerous errors, and gross corruptions of the Christian doctrine, and insinuates, that the native tendency of these writings is co sully the honour, and obscure the glory of divine grace manifested in the atonement; to gratify human pride, and cherish that enmity that is in the heart of every man by nature against the true doctrine of the grace of God; and thus to insnare, seduce, and destroy the souls of men for ever. Could he have made this appear, the Public, no doubt, would have been greatly indebted to him for his labour; as it must highly concern every one to know the truth in its purity and simplicity, and as stript of all those false colourings and disguises which men of corrupt minds are ape to put upon it, and thus be undeceived with regard to matters of the last importance.
Could he prove what he has confidently asserted concerning some eminent ministers of the gospel; that the leading scope of their writings and sermons was to prompt and encourage men to work out and eftablish a righteousness of their own, in order to acceptance with God, and to gain their applause by artfully accommodating all the doctrines of the gospel to their religious pride ; that, instead of preaching Christ Jeļus the Lord, and proclaiming the glad tidings of salvation through a crucified Redeemer, it was their chief aim to set forth their own importance; and that they were even so arrogant as to usurp the character and work of Christ, in order the more effectually to gain the esteem, and procure the , admiration of their hearers; I confess, I see not wliat apology could be made for them ; þuç must acknowledge, that they deserve the worst of characters, as having been undoubtedly the worst of men.
But an intelligent and unprejudiced reader, who peruses this author's book with the smallest degree of attention, will find that, through the whole, he rather supposes these things to be true, than proves, or even, by any fair method of reasoning, attempts to prove that they are so. He is indeed very libéral in his invectives against these worthy men, whose praise is in the churches; and with an air of self-sufficiency, and a degree of confidence rarely to be met with, brands them with the opprobrious names of enemies to the ancient apostolic gospel, Pharisees, self-feeking men, Scribes and disputers of this world, double dealers with God and inan, &c. He. puts. what constructions he pleases upon their words and expressions, and ordinarily wrests them to a meaning which they never intended, yea, which is directly oppofite to their declared principles, and the whole fcope and tendency of their doctrine ; and then declaims with great warnith, and fometimes at great length, against those errors and false opinions which he would make the reader believe are the native confequences of what they taught. By such deceitful artifices as these he may impofe upon the weak and unwary, but the attentive and judicious will easily perceive the fraud, abhor his disingenuity, and treat his impertinent