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T O T H E
SERIOUS AND CANDID PROFESSORS
ON THE FOLLOWING SUBJECTS, VIZ.
I. THE USE OF REASON IN MATTERS OF
II. THE POWER OF MAN TO DO THE WILL
III. ORIGINAL SIN,
IV. ELECTION AND REPROBATION,
V. THE DIVINITY OF CHRIST; AND,
VI. ATONEMENT FOR SIN BY THE DEATH
TO WHICH ARE ADDED,
A CONCISE HISTORY OF THE RISE OF THOSE DOCTRINES;
AND THE TRIUMPH OF TRUTH,
BEING AN ACCOUNT OF THE TRIAL OF
MR. E. ELWALL,
FOR HERESY AND BLASPHEMY.
TO US THERE IS ONE GOD, THE FATHER; AND ONI MEDIATOR, THE MAN cHRIST JESUS. I COR. VIII. 6. 1 TIM. II. 5.
3 A N APPEAL
SERIOUS AND CANDID PROFESSORS OF CHRISTIANITY.
MY CHRISTIAN BRETHREN,
PERMIT one who prosesses obedience to'the fame Lord, and faith in the precious promises of the fame gospel with yourselves, to address himself to you with all freedom and plainness of speech, on subjects relating to our common salvation. I need not tell you that the subj ects are interesting. In reality nothing else is interesting, in comparison with them. For what is this world compared with the future! Whatistime compared with eternity! Believe me, my brethren, it is nothing but the deepest concern for the honour of a religion which is the most valuable inheritance os the human race, and which sets usabove allthefolliesandvices, all the weaknesses and troubles of lise, by giving us the most solid hope in death, that has induced me to solicit your attention. But I am confident that you will not think it ill-bestowed, because it is upon a subject that is near and dear to you, and the consideration of which cannot but please and profit you. A If
If, by the blessing of God upon our common endeavours to lead and to be led into all truth, I mail be so happy as to bring you to entertain -the same views of these things with myself, we shall rejoice together; and if, aster all that I may be able to advance, you should still think differently from me, I trust you will, at least, be disposed to think with more candour of some of your sellow-christians, who love the gospel, and are zealous for its honour, though you may think them mistaken in their conceptions concerning it. Let me intreat you therefore, my brethren, to give me a patient and candid hearing. Attend, in the spirit of meekness, to what I shall say from the earnestness of my heart; and exercise the reason which God has given you upon this occasion, which is the noblest on which it can be exercised, and for which you may, therefore, conclude, that it was principally given you.
I. Of The Use Of Reason In Matters Of
Be not backward, or asraid, my brethren, to make use of your reason in matters of religion, or where the scriptures are concerned. They both of them proceed from the same God and Father of us all, who is the giver of every good and every persect gift. They cannot, therefore, be contrary to one another, but must mutually illustrate and enforce one another. Besides, how can we distinguish one scheme of
religion religion from another, so as to give the preserence to that which is the most deserving of it, but by the help of our reason and understanding? What would you yourselves say to a mahometan, whom you would persuade to abandon the imposture of Mahomet, and embrace Christianity, but bid him use his reason, and judge, by the help of it, of the manisest difference between the two religions, and the great superiority of yours to his? Does not God himself appeal to the reason of man, when he condescends to ask us, JVbether his ways be not equal? Ezek. xviii. 29. Does not the apostle exhort us that, in under/landing we be men? 1 Cor. xiv. 20. Are we not expressly commanded to -prove all things, and then hold sost that which is good? 1 Thest*. v. 21. Also when we are commanded to search the scriptures, John v. 39. more must be meant than merely reading them, or receiving implicitly, the interpretations of others. Searching must imply an earnest endeavour to find out for ourselves, and to understand the truths contained in the scriptures; and what saculty can we employ for this purpose, but that which is commonly called reason, whereby we are capable of thinking, reflecting, comparing, and judging of things?