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النشر الإلكتروني

It is proper to observe, that a considerable part of the ori. ginal work contains a reply to some strictures on the author's writings, which had appeared in a periodical publication; and which, together with some local and less interesting matter, it has been judged proper to omit.


IT is long since the writer of the following pages first felt a conviction of the importance of divine truth, and that every thing ought to be sacrificed to the discovery and promotion of it. For years he has felt the persuasion, that unless a man can make up his mind to part with his ease, reputation, friends, worldly advantage, and even life it. self, should the cause of truth call for such painful sacrifices, he is not fully qualified to act the part of a faithful minister of Jesus Christ. He has long been accustomed to encounter obloquy, the loss of valued friends, and many temporal disadvantages, for the sake of a good conscience: still he rejoices in having followed the convictions of his own mind, and is prepared to meet with firmness any reproach or inconvenience to which the publication of this work may subject him. He wishes his readers to be apprized, that, if they adopt and profess the sentiments inculcated by him, they ought to prepare themselves patiently to endure reproach and painful treatment from reputed orthodox christians of the present day.

Those who cannot bear to be suspected of heretical pravity, who have not courage to meet the frowns, and bear the reproaches, of those assuming men who monopolize to themselves the title of orthodox and evangelical, had better at once lay aside the use of reason in matters of religion, that they

may move on in sectarian trammels without any troublesome convictions; for, if they once begin to bring every religious opinion to the scrutiny of rea. son, it is highly probable they will soon become dissatisfied with some part of their creed, and be suspected by their brethren of heresy: yet they should remember that, so far as they sacrifice their reason to the dog mas of a party, they degrade themselves in the scale of being, and act unworthy the character of sincere lovers of truth, of the followers of Jesus, who sacrificed his life in the cause of truth, in opposition to the reputed orthodoxy of the men of his age. Far more honourable and advantageous will it be found to have truth with reproach, &c. than to slumber on in error, with ignoble ease, amidst the caresses of our religious friends and connections.




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IN writing and publishing this work the follow. ing ends are proposed.

1. To attempt the removal of those dismal shades which were drawn over the all-glorious character of the Father of mercies during the dark ages of superstition, so far as they remain to the present ciay : in particular that foul stain which the modern notion of atonement fixes upon it, by the supposi. tion that he saves sinners, not of his pure good.

ness and mercy simply, but because he hath been bought off from the execution of his vengeance, by the expiatory sufferings of an innocent person, against whom all the fierceness of his wrath was directed, and who endured the whole weight of his displeasure.

2. To vindicate the justice of God from the calumnious charge of being a principle of revenge, or mere retaliation, a principle in which not the least degree of mercy or compassion is ever to be found.

3. To show that the gospel is not a plan of bargain, contract, sale, and purchase, according to which God bestows every blessing, not of pure love and mercy, but in consideration of an equivalent which he received for it: and that, on the contrary, it is a system of pure grace, or divine favour, flowing from the infinite, and unmerited, love of the Almighty, who bestows salvation and everlasting life as free gifts, by Jesus Christ, without any consideration distinct from his own mercy, but the penitence and submission of the offender.

4. To explode the absurd and dangerous notion that sinners may become righteous without their own personal conformity, in heart and life, to the righeous will of God by the transfer and imputa. tion of Christ's righteousness to them: and to establish the important principle, in morality and re. ligion, that no man can become righteous any further than he attains right dispositions and performs right actions.

5. To show that Christ is not the procuring cause of the favour and mercy of God to sinners; but

the organ by which the divine truth and grace, mind and will are revealed, the medium through which salvation and everlasting life are communicated.

6. To contribute a mite towards a further reformation from the errors of popery, and the errors of protestants founded on popish principles, especial. ly in reference to those false notions which are deemed by many essential doctrines of the gospel.

7. To roll away a stone of reproach from christi. anity; on which T. Paine, according to his own account, in his Age of Reason, having stumbled in his childhood, fell into mere deism; and which has probably helped to lead many into infidelity.

Such are the objects kept in view throughout the following pages.

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