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“ careless sinner awakened, and turned from the error “ of his way ;'--I shall consider my reward as obtained, " and my labour as infinitely more than compensated.”It has afforded me sincere gratification, I trust from higher and purer principles than those of a merely selfish nature, to learn, from different quarters, that my labour has not, in these respects, been entirely fruitless.--Amongst the accounts of this description, not the least pleasing has been from the other side of the Atlantic. In America, particular ly in the state of Massachussets, the same controversy haš, of late, been exciting unusual attention. During its progress, a copy of the “Discourses” having been carried out from this country by an American minister, a large edition was published in Boston ; which, I am given to hope, has not been without some small service to the cause of Christ. It was followed, on the part of the Unitarians, by the republication of Mr. Yates's “ Vindication," with Notes, and an Appendix.—The letters conveying these notices, (which were from eminent ministers of the gospel, although personally strangers to myself, and which pleasingly indicate the effect of the “one faith” in knitting the hearts of strangers, however distant, in the bonds of Christian affection)--were accompanied with copies of the various publications which had then issued from the American press, in the course of the recent controversy. As this volume is likely to reach the same quarter, it may not be improper to say, that at first I felt inclined to take some notice, in an Appendix, or otherwise, of the contents of these publications. But, besides the propriety of confining myself, as much as possible, to the field which my own adversary had marked out for me, as well as of avoiding longer delay in the publication of this reply, want of leisure prevented me from giving them a deliberate examination ; nor did there appear, indeed, to be any sufficient call for entering the lists amongst the Transatlantic combatants. The arena is already well occupied. There are hearts there burning with unquenchable love to the Divine Redeemer, associated with understandings fully adequate to do justice to their zeal. We heartily bid them “God speed.” And, although they should be grieved there, as we have been here, by seeing some depart from the faith :" yet those who are approved 66 will be made the more manifest," and the truth, which is mighty, shall ultimately prevail.
In the course of this work, I have occasionally referred, with approbation, to “Strictures on Mr. Yates's Vin“ dication of Unitarianism," by the Rev. John Brown of Biggar. These Strictures are very creditable to the critical talents of their author; although, from the peculiar form in which they are written, (having been originally intended
as an article in one of the periodical journals,”) they are necessarily limited, and, in some measure, desultory. There is in a few parts of them, a degree of sarcastic asperity, which will be condemned by some, and, perhaps, justified by others; and which I am myself timid to censure, because, in the composition of the following work, the trial of temper has at times been such, as to render it not improbable, that, in spite of my introductory remarks, and good resolutions, on the spirit of controversy, Mr. Brown may find some occasion for retorting upon me, with the proverb, Physician, heal thyself.”-I should very gladly have allowed these Strictures, together with the Reviews (some of them long and able) to which this controversy has given rise, to have sufficed as antidotes to the poison of Unitarian error, in Mr. Yates's work, and, desisting from my labour, have devoted my time' to other departments of study :but, having publicly taken up the cause, I felt that I should leave a sting in my conscience, if I did not attempt, with the same publicity, to meet the reasonings of my opponent with a more full and formal refutation; and by this means, as well as by additional evidence, to settle still more firmly on the solid basis of Scripture testimony, those doctrines, which Christians have been accustomed to consider as the
essential articles of revealed truth.
The favourable reception experienced by the “ Discourses,” has inspired a diffident hope, that the present volume may not be altogether unacceptable to the Christian public, or unaccompanied with the blessing of God. Without that blessing, I am deeply convinced, every expectation of good must be frustrated :--and no one who has read the epistles of
Paul, and imbibed any portion of his spirit, will charge me with enthusiasm, in requesting, in order to its success, and to the success of all similar efforts, the prayers of
In a foot-note, page 20th of this volume, a reference is made to Note A. at the end. It was my intention to have inserted there some particulars relative to the theological sentiments of Dr. Isaac Watts. To avoid, however, the awkward appearance of a solitary note, (having found no particular occasion for more) I now prefer making a reference to the pamphlet from which these particulars should have been extracted. It is entitled, “ Dr. Watts no Socinian; a “ Refutation of the Testimony of Dr. Lardner, as brought “ forward in the Rev. T. Belsham's Memoirs of the late “ Rev. Theophilus Lindsay, " That Dr. Watts's last senti“ments were completely Unitarian.'. In a series of letters « to the Rev. Joseph Smith, of Manchester. By Samuel “ Palmer.-— Your glorying is not good.' 1 Cor. v. 6. “ London, 1813."
The references in this work to my former volume are made to the fine copy of the first edition. My reason for this is, that a much greater number of persons are in possession of the first edition than of the second. The difference between the two, however, is so very slight, as to occasion no inconvenience.--As for those who have the common copy of