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THOUGH the following work, as a Syftem of Divinity, has the appearance of being new, yet certainly it proposes no new foundation: for other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jefus Chrift: If we fpeak not according to this word (Chrift) it is because there is no light in us; but if we are led by this light, Jefus Chrift, the fame yesterday, to-day and for ever, much darkness is difcovered in our most approved modern fyftems; and it will appear that our master-builders, if any may be called fuch befides the Prophets and Apostles, have, in a great measure, builded afide from the foundation, and must therefore fuffer lofs.
It is certain that the work not framed accord. ing to the true and only foundation, though the study and labour of ages will not profit men; and the torch of divine revelation cannot be too foon applied to the vaft pile which fhall fet it all on flame; and though the hand or instrument to do this must expect to be treated by many as a vile incendiary, yet he will deferve well of the world of mankind; for let the hay, wood and stubble be confumed, and the light of the divine foundation, and the gold, filver and precious
ftones, builded thereon, will break forth as the lightning, and fhine through the earth.
Many Systems of Divinity, though called Chriftian, bear no character of truth-they do not relpect the foundation in one effential point of view. With these we have no concern-they are not objects of our attention-God wil judge them and their authors, and blot their name and remembrance from the city of God: But there are others which do, in fome effential view, regard the glorious foundation; and though greatly faulty, in not obferving its full measure, yet deserve our most serious attention-we are affured they will not wholly fail, though tried by fire; and their authors will be faved in the day of the Lord.
Among thefe, the works founded on the bafis of pure benevolence, and unfolding in what are call'ed the Doctrines of Grace, have the preference A line of truth has been drawn from this divine doctrine, with the demonstration of the fpirit, for which, in the American world, we have been greatly indebted to the labours of Prefident Edwards and Doctor Hopkins. But the works of these divines, the latter efpecially*, being brought forward as whole fyßems, too apparently miftake one character of the divine principle for the whole body of light; confequently the propofed foundation, not being fufficiently broad to support the whole fabrick, a great part of it falls into a pile;
* Prefident Edwards did not offer his works as a system, but by many they have been confidered as fuch, and expressly 25 having the doctrine of benevolence for their foundation.