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versal toleration will be allowed to be as clear and demonstrative as possible, yet we are well aware, the allowance of these articles in all their fair, just, necessary consequences would be so inimical to many dispositions, and so effectually subversive of so many selfish, interested systems, that we entertain no hopes of ever seeing the theory generally reduced to practice. Heaven may exbibit a scene of universal love, and it is glorious to christianity to propose it; it is an idea replete with extatic joy, and, thanks be to God, it is more than an idea, it is a law in many christian churches, alas ! little known, and less imitated by the rest of their brethren. There is a remnant of Jacob in the midst of many people, as a dew from the Lord, as the showers upon the grass, that tarrieth not for man, nor waiteth for the sons of men. These may chearfully adopt the prophet's exultation,-Rejoice not against me, O mine enemy! If I fall, I shall arise ; when I sit in darkness the Lord shall be a light unto me; he will bring me forth to the light, and I shall behold his righteousness. In the day, that my walls are to be built, in that day shall human decrees concerning conscience be far removed.
On these general principles the sermons in this volume are selected; and on these the reader will at once perceive why it does not contain the whole system of any one subscriber, or the whole system of the author. Each contains primary truths, which all allow, and secondary explications, which some believe, which others doubt, and which some deny. I have not been able to form the volume wholly on this plan; but I have endeavoured to approach it as nearly as my materials would permit.
The first sermon is introductory, and exhibits Jesus Christ on the throne in the christian church, solely vested with legislative and executive power, prohibiting the exercise of either in cases of religion and conscience to all mankind. The twelve following sermons propose four objects to our contemplation, as christianity represents them. The first is man, in his natural dignity, his providential appointment, and his moral inability. The second is Jesus Christ mediating between God and men, and opening by what he did and suffered our access to immortal felicity. The sermon on the dignity of our Lord, in this part, will be considered by some as a principal essential doctrine, while others will account it Mr. Saurin's explication of a doctrine of ineffable dignity, which they allow; but which they explain in another
The third object proposed is the mode of participating the benefits of Christ's mediation, as faith, repentance, and so on.
The fourth consists of motive objects of christianity; so I venture to call the christian doctrines of judgment, heaven, and hell, belief of which gives animation and energy to action. The last sermon is recapitulatory, and proves, that variety is compatible with uniformity, yea, that uniformity necessarily produceth variety. When I call this volume, sermons on the principal doctrines of christianity, I mean to affirm, it contains a general view of the
most obvious, and the least disputable articles of christian theology, according to the notions of the French reformed churches.
I have only to add my sincere prayers to the God of all grace, that he may enable us all to put on this armour of God, that we may be able to withstand in this evil day, and, having done all, to stand; for we wrestle against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. May he grant, that we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fra, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive, SPEAKING THE TRUTH IN LOVE, may we grow up into him in all things, who is the head, even Christ, to whom alone be DOMINION OVER CONSCIENCE for ever and ever ! Amen.
R E M A R K S
The Preface to the Fourth Volume of a Translation of
(THE THIRD EDITION
PRINTED 1800. ]