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ject farther in its connexion with the Secession Testimony. The prevailing influence of latitudinarian tenets in the established church of Scotland occasioned the erection of the secession church. Hence Mr. Wilson of Perth, in his excellent Defence of Reformation Principles, justly exposes the lax principles of those who wrote in favour of the judicial proceedings of that church against the members of the associate presbytery. Mr. Willison's appearance against that presbytery, in what is entitled his Impartial Testimony, (which in many things respecting the Seceders certainly deserves to be termed partial.) was a native consequence of his joining with others in giving countenance to the ministrations of Mr. Whitefield, an eminent apostle of latitudinarianism. Though the objections in Mr. Willison's Testimony were answered materially by Mr. Wilson's Defence now mentioned, before he made them; and more formally by Mr. Gallatly afterwards; yet as these writings are now hardly to be met with, especially in this country; and as an edition of Mr. Willison's Testimony has been lately printed and dispersed here, a particular consideration of his objections was necessary.
The plans, now recommended with regard to the union of sepa rate bodies of professing_christians, call their attention to the sub+ ject of these Dialogues. For the pursuing of these plans will be either beneficial or destructive in their tendency, according as the scheme of communion which they lead the uniting parties to adopt, is consistent or not so, with the word of God and with faithfulness to his cause. In these conversations, while corruption is the native consequence of latitudinarian schemes, scriptural order in sacramental communion tends to make the visible church a heaven upon earth to the faithful, terrible as an army with banners to her enemies, and to her King and Head for a name, for a praise and for glory.
Some will perhaps blame the writer of these Dialogues for having attempted to revive old controversies. But it is too evident, that the errors, which occasioned the controversies here exhibited, still exist, either in the same form or in their bitter fruits. In the course of each of these controversies, there have been such precious examples of what the Lord has done, and of what he has enabled his servants to do and suffer for his cause, as ought never to be forgotten. Besides, a farther decision in favour of truth and duty which have been openly denied and reproached is to be expected from Zion's strong Redeemer, who will thoroughly plead her cause, and who will have the public injuries done to that cause acknowledged. In short, the writer would not have given a fair account of the Secession Testimony, if he had passed over any of these controversies in silence.
With regard to the form of dialogue, it was chosen by the writer as it seemed to suit better than continued discourse with the variety of subjects that were to be treated of. He is far from pretending, that these Dialogues are entitled to the praise of finished conversationpieces. He has, however, endeavoured to avoid improprieties; and in the part of Alexander, the reader will observe a diversity of style and manner, as he constantly states the objections in the words of the writers from whom they were taken.
The Appendix to the second part contains observations on a variety of points belonging to what may be called the present truth, in which the people of God ought to be established.
The writer now leaves this work in the hands of Him, whose accep tance through Jesus Christ is the best reward of the labours of his servants; and on whose blessing all their success and usefulness depend. That the hearts of those who peruse these Dialogues may be warmed with love to the truths of God and to the peace of his church, is, through grace, the desire of their servant for Jesus' sake.
Service, October 20th, 1820.
ALEXANDER AND RUFUS;
OR A SERIES OF
DIALOGUES ON CHURCH COMMUNION.
In which scriptural church communion is stated and vindicated in opposition to latitudinarian schemes.
Rom. xv. With one mind and one mouth glorify God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.
1 Corinth. i. 10. I beseech you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that
ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgement.