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The following extract from the solemn address of the eminently pious and candid Dr. Watts, which was made to the great and ever-blessed God, on a review of what he had written in the Trinitarian controversy, is earnestly recommended to the serious perusal of the reader. The address was prefixed by Dr. Watts to pieces he had written in this controversy, which his executors did not judge necessary to publish.--Some of the sentiments which it contains, are different from those he entertained at an earlier period of life.
D. M. ADDRESS. Righteous art thou, O Lord, when I plead with thee ; yet I may talk with thee concerning thy judgements. Permit me, O my God and Father, to plead with thee concerning the revelations of thy nature and thy grace, which are made in thy gospel. And let me do it with all that humble reverence, and that holy awe, of thy Majesty, which becomes a creature in the presence of his God.
Hast thou not, O Lord God Almighty, hast thou not transacted thy divine and important affairs among men by thy Son Jesus Christ, and by thy holy spirit? and hast thou not ordained that men should transact their highest and most momentous concerns with thee, by thy Son and by thy spirit ? Must I not know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ thy Son, whom thou hast sent, that I may fulfil all my respective duties towards thyself and thy Son, in hope of eternal life? Hath not thy Son himself, appealed to thee in his last prayer, that eternal life depends on this knowledge ? And since thou hast made so much use of thy holy spirit in our religion, must I not have some knowledge of this thy spirit also, that I may pay thee all these honors thou requirest from this divine revelation ?
Hast thou not ascribed divine names, and titles, and characters to thy Son and thy holy spirit in thy word? And yet art not thou, and thou alone, the true God?
Holy Father, thou knowest how firmly I believe with all my soul, whatsoever thou hast plainly written and revealed in thy word. I believe thee to be the only true God, the supreme of beings, self-sufficient for thine own existence, and for all thy infinite affairs and transactions among creatures. I believe thy Son Jesus Christ to be all-sufficient for the glorious work of mediation between God and man, to which thou hast appointed him to fulfil the blessed works for which thou hast exalted him, and to govern and judge the world in thine appointed time.
I believe also thy blessed Spirit hath almighty power and influence to do all thy will, to instruct men effectually in divine truths, to change the hearts of fallen mankind from sin to holiness, to carry on thy work of illumination, sanctification, and consolation on the souls of all thy children, and to bring them safe to the heavenly world. 1 yield myself up joyfully and thankfully to this method of thy salvation, as it is revealed in the gospel. But I acknowledge my darkness still. I want to have this wonderful doctrine of the all-sufficiency of thy Son and thy Spirit, for these divine works, made a little plainer. Is it a vain and sinful curiosity to desire to have this article set in such a light, as may not diminish the eternal glory of the unity of the true God, nor of the supremacy of thee, the Father of all ?
Hadst thou informed me, gracious Father, in any place of thy word, that this divine doctrine is not to be understood by men, and yet they were required to believe it, I would have subdued all my curiosity to faith, and submitted my wandering and doubtful imaginations, as far as it was possible, to the holy and and wise determinations of thy word. But I cannot find thou hast any where forbid me to understand it, or to make these inquiries. My conscience is the best natural light thou hast put within me, and since thou hast given me the scriptures, my own conscience bids me to search the scriptures, to find out truth and eternal life. It bids me try all things, and hold fast
that which is good. And thy own word by the same expressions, encourages this holy practice. I have, therefore, been long searching into this divine doctrine, that I may pay thee due honor with understanding. Surely l ought to know the God whom I worship, whether he be one pure and simple being, or whether thou art a three fold Deity, consisting of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.
Dear and blessed God, hadst thou been pleased, in any one plain scripture, to have informed me which of the different opinions about the holy Trinity, among the contending parties of christians, had been true, thou knowest with how much zeal, satisfaction and joy, my unbiassed heart would have opened itself to receive and embrace the divine discovery. Hadst thou told me plainly, in one single text, that the Father, Son and holy Spirit, are three real distinct persons in thy divine nature, I had never suffered myself to be bewildered in so many doubts, nor embarrassed with so many strong fears of assenting to the mere inventions of men, instead of divine doctrine; but I should have humbly and immediately accepted thy words, so far as it was possible for ine to understand them as the only rule of my faith. Or, hadst thou been pleased to express and include this proposition in the several scattered parts of thy book, from whence my reason and conscience might with ease find out, and with certainty infer this doctrine, I should have joyfully employed all my reasoning powers, with their utmost skill and activity, to have found out this inference, and ingrafted it into my soul. But how can such weak creatures (men) ever take in so strange, so difficult, and so abstruse a doctrine as this, in the explication and defence whereof, multitudes of men, even men of learning and piety, have lost themselves in infinite subtleties of dispute, and endless mazes of darkness ?
Thou art witness, O my God, with what diligence, with what constancy and care, I have read and searched thy holy word, how early and late, by night and by day, I have been making these inquiries. How fervently have I been seeking thee on my bended knees, and directing my humble addresses to thee, to enlighten my darkness, and to shew me the meaning of thy word, that I inay learn what I must believe, and what I must practise with regard to this doctrine, in order to please thee, and obtain eternal life.
I humbly call thee to witness, O my God, what a holy jealousy I ever wear about my heart, lest I should do the slightest dishonor to thy supreme Majesty, in any of my inquiries or determinations. Thou seest what a religious fear, and what a tender solicitude I maintain on my soul, lest I should think or speak any thing to diminish the grandeurs and honors of thy Son Jesus, my dear mediator, to whom I owe my everlasting hopes. Thou knowest how much afraid I am of speaking one word, which may be construed into a neglect of thy blessed Spirit. Guard all the motions of my mind, almighty God, against every thing that borders upon these dangers. Forbid my thoughts indulge, and forbid my pen to write one word, that should sink those grand ideas which belong to thyself, or to thy Son, or thy holy Spirit. Forbid it, o my God, that ever I should be so unhappy as to unglorify my Father, my Savior, or my Sanctifier, in any of my sentiments or expressions concerning them.
Blessed and faithful God, am I not truly sensible of my own darkness and weakness, my dangerous prejudices on every side, and my utter insufficiency for my own conduct ? Wilt thou leave such a poor creature bewildered among a thousand perplexities, which are raised by various opinions and contrivances of men to explain thy divine truth?
Help me, heavenly Father, for I am quite tired and weary of these human explainings, so various and uncertain. When wilt thou explain it to me thyself, O my God, by the secret and certain dictates of thy Spirit, according to the intimations of thy word ? nor let any pride of reason, nor any affectation of novelty, nor any criminal bias whatsoever, turn my heart aside
from harkening to these divine dictates of thy word, and thy Spirit. Suffer not any of my native corruptions, nor the vanity of my imaginations to cast a mist over my eyes, while I am searching after the knowledge of thy mind and will, for my eternal salvation.
I entreat, О most merciful Father, that thou wilt not suffer the remnant of my short life to be wasted in such endless wanderings, in quest of thee or thy Son Jesus, as a great part of my days have been; but let my sincere endeavors to know thee, in all the ways whereby thou hast discovered thyself in thy word, be crowned with such success, that my soul being established in every needful truth by thy holy Spirit, I may spend my remaining life according to the rules of thy gospel, and may with all the holy and happy ereation ascribe glory and honor, wisdom and power to thee, who sittest upon the throne, and to the Lamb for ever and ever.
RELIGIOUS CONFERENCE BETWEEN A CONGREGATION
ALIST AND A UNIVERSALIST.
Concluded from page 176. Some conversation then ensued upon the parable of the ten virgins. Mr. K. read the parable and explained; he understood the wise virgins to represent the real disciples of Christ; the foolish those who were only nominal professors, who only had the appearance of Christians; but were never in possession of the oil of divine grace, for they took no oil in their lamps. From this opinion Mr. B. dissented. By the kingdom of heaven he understood the gospel, or gospel dispensation, which had commenced. He understood that this kingdom or the gospel was likened unto ten virgins with much propriety, because they were a fit emblem to represent purity:
He contended that all had oil in their lamps, the foolish as well as the wise, otherwise there would be no propriety in the phrase, "our lamps have gone out”--that their lamps could