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The INTRODUCTION.
Wherein those points, viz. Of divine im-

presions on men's minds ; of Special
grace ; of the virtue and merit of faith;
and of St. Thomas's unbelief ; are

particularly considered. SI RS,

FTER having had a correspondence with you, by writing, for

many years past, which, I trust, has not been altogether useless, nor unacceptable to you ; I now propose, at the conclusion of this tract, to take my leave of you. What I have principally aimed at, in all

my writings, has been both to evince, and to impress deeply upon your minds, a just sense of those truths, which are of the highest concern to you. For, tho' I do not think that error, considered simply as such, that is, considered as a wrong apprehension of things, especially when all proper measures have been taken to have the understanding

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rightly

rightly informed, is either blameable in itself, or displeasing to God, seeing it is what all men are liable, and greatly in danger, of falling into, be they ever to careful in guarding against it : yet, forasmuch as our opinions have, in some instances, a great influence upon our wills, and, consequently, upon our behaviour ; when that is the case, then, error, in the event, may be greatly injurious both to ourselves and others; and, therefore, it must be a matter of 1110ment to have our understandings rightly directed, in all such cases, in order to the rightly directing our affections and aftions. Some of the points, that I have laboured to impress upon the minds of my readers, are these that follow. First, That there is a natural and an essential difference in things, and a laro or rule of affection and action, resulting from that difference, which every moral agent ought to direct his affections and behaviour by; and, that nothing, but a conformity of mind and life to this rule, or, at leart, an honest intention of acting rightly, and a suitable practice, will render men pleasing and acceptable to the Deity. Secondly, If men have greatly departed from the ruleabovementioned and have, by their vicious

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affections and actions, rendered themselves the proper objects of divine resentment; then, as nothing but their repentance and reformation can render them the proper objects of mercy and forgiveness, so that, and nothing but that, will be the ground and reason of God's mercy to them. Thirdly, That God will judge the world, and that he will do it, not by capricious humour, and according to arbitrary will; but by, or according to, the eternal rules of right and wrong, that is, by the aforefaid law; and, in consequence thereof, will reward or punish men, in another world, according as they have, by their good or bad behaviour, rendered themfelves the proper objects of either, in this. And, fourtbly, That the three foregoing propositions are the sum and substance of the gospel of Christ, or of what Christ was, in a special manner, sent of God to acquaint the world with. These, surely, are points, in which mankind at large are greatly interested ; and, therefore, their being set right in thele matters must be of the highest concern to them. The three first of these come under the denomination of natural religion ; that is, the belief of these, and a practice conformable to such belief, constitute

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The Author's Farewel. the pure and uncorrupted religion of reason and nature; as they are grounded upon the unalterable nature, and the eternal reason of things, and, as such, they are, and must, and will, be the same, whether there be any divine revelation, or any promulged law, or not. Men's relation to, and dependence upon, God, and their relation to, and dependence upon, each other, and all obligations, that flow from such relations and dependencies, are what they are, antecedent to, and independent of, any revelation or promulged law; and, therefore, are, and must be the same, both before, and after such promulgarion ; and all just and reasonable expectations, grounded upon these, and upon men's behaviour with respect to them, must be the same also. So that the grounds of men's acceptance with God, and of their obtaining the divine mercy, and the justness and propriety of a future retribution, must of neceffity be the same, whether God has made a revelation of his will to mankind, or not. And, as to the fourth and last point, mentioned above, (viz.) that the three foregoing propositions are the fum and substance of the gospel of Christ, this, I am fenfible, is so far from having been generally admitted,

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that on the contrary, great opfoption has been made to it; and men seem disposed to have no gospel at all, rather than such a gospel as this. This is a gospel too plain and intelligible for artful men to make their advantages of, and to build a profitable trade upon ; they must have a gospel which is sublime and mysterious, which is out of the reach of the human understanding, and, therefore, cannot be judged of by it, otherwise it will not answer their purposes. This is a gospel too closely attached to virtue and goodness, for vicious and evil-minded men to be pleased with ; they must have a gospel which will permit them to be easy under, and which gives them a little indulgence in their vices; and therefore, it is no wonder that the representation I have given of Christ's gospel, should be opposed by many; tho', by the way,

if that representation be not the truth of the case, then, it would have been better for us, that no gospel had been given at all ; because

any other gospel, but this, would have been a great imposition upon mankind. And this leads me to observe, that the point under consideration is supported by the absurdity of the contrary supposition, suppofing Christ's gospel to be divine. For, had

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