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PREFACE

TO THE

FIRST EDITION.

W HEN the following pages were written, which was in 1781, the author had no intention of publishing them. He had formerly entertained different sentiments. For some few years, however, he had begun to doubt whether all his principles on these subjects were scriptural. These doubts arose chiefly from thinking on some passages of scripture; particularly the latter part of the second psalm, where kings who set themselves against the Lord, and against his anointed, are positively commanded to kiss the Son: also the preaching of John the baptist, Christ and his apostles; who, he found, did not hesitate to address unconverted sinners, and that in the most pointed manner; saying, Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand-Repent, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out. And it appeared to him, there must be a most un

warrantable force put upon these passages, to make them mean any other repentance and faith, than what are connected with salvation.

Reading the lives and labours of such men as Elliot, Brainerd, and several others, who preached Christ with so much success to the American Indians, had an effect upon him. Their work, like that of the apostles, seemed to be plain before them. They appeared to him, in their addresses to those poor benighted heathens, to have none of the difficulties with which he felt himself encumbered. These things led him to the throne of grace, to implore instruction and resolution. He saw that he wanted both; the one to know the mind of Christ, and the other to avow it.

He was for some time, however, deterred from disclosing his doubts. During nearly four years they occupied his mind, and not without increasing. Being once in company with a minister whom he greatly respected, it was thrown out as a matter of enquiry, Whether he had generally entertained just notions concerning unbelief. It was common to speak of unbelief as a calling in question the truth of our own personal religion: whereas, he remarked, “ It was the calling in question the

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