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displeasure of either party, although I assent to neither in all things, that I transferred the whole of the dispute from personal and verbal things unto real; not inquiring with too much rigour, what was said or unsaid by this or that man, what was well understood, or otherwise, by the reader or the hearer, but what ought to be said, or in my judgment, at least, may be most conveniently said. It is a very frequent fault with disputants, that the one complains of the sense being badly expressed, the other that it is not well understood: whence it is thar the whole dispute often evanishes into a mere mistake of the subject; or which is worse, issues in the most indecent brawlings. I judged, that by all means, such à conduct should be avoided: applying myself to this alone, that I might clearly deliver the truth without injury to any man, and without party zeal; the defence of which is far from me. Do you, brethren, take in good part this Dutch candour: and despise not the sincere labour of a foreigner, following truth with charity. Besides enjoying the common name of Christians, and Protestants, we have the same celestial depositum committed to our care: and we Batavians and Britons are now connected by a straiter bond, living under the pious and the happy government of the same best of princes, your king, and our stadtholder, William the III. To whom we know there is nothing more desirable, than that the monuments of faction being erazed, as well in Britain as in the Netherlands, right hands should join in the perpetual confederation of brethren. But there is abundance of preface. Let us come to the subject.
URITY and peace are essential to that wisdom which cometh from above, James iii. 17. Accordingly those endued with it, have ever held them in the highest estimation. Begotten by the word of truth, they seek the peace of Jerusalem. By means of the one, they enjoy communion with their God; and in virtue of the other, the pleasures of fellowship among themselves. While zealous for the former, they dare not disregard the latter. Enamoured with both, it is as a sword in their bones, to see them divided. Their love to the truth as it is in Jesus, will not suffer them to embrace that peace which rises on its ruins, nor will their love of peace allow them to violate the communion of saints, for mat1ers of doubtful disputation. When it is endangered, they are ready to stand in the breach, in order to reconcile the contending parties. Such pacific dispositions point out whose they are, whom they serve, and whither shey are going. Blessed, said
the Prince of Peace, are the peace makers: for they shall be called the children of God, Mat. v. 9. And while blessed of the Lord, they are generally had in honour among men.
In few instances was this ever more verified, than in the celebrated W1T
His learning, his life, his labours, and his steady attachment to evangelic truth, endeared him, when alive, to her friends, and embalmed his memory when dead. Hence it was, that when several doctrinal differences began to be warmly agitated among some ministers in England, they agreed in submitting them to him as an able and impartial umpire. This gave rise to his Irenical Animadversions. They were first printed at Utrecht, anno 1696, in a small octavo of 237 pages; and four years after at Amsterdam, in the second volume of the author's miscellanies. But the vii. and viii. chapters in the Utrecht edition, were omitted in that of Amsterdam. · For what reason I have not been able to learn. They seemed to me, however, of too much importance to be overlooked in this translation. The late holy Hervey, in a foot note in his Theron and Aspasio, vol. 2, page 366, referring to the U. trecht edition of these Animadversions, expressesshimself in the following words: “See Witsii Animadver“ siones Irenicæ, chap. viii. -A choice little piece of
polemical divinity, perhaps the very best that is extant.
In which the most important controversies o are fairly stated, accurately discussed, and judi“ ciously determined; with a perspicuity of sense, “ and a solidity of reasoning, exceeded by nothing, 6 but the remarkable conciseness, and the still more Having often read these Animadversions, and found with pleasure that they were well entitled to all the character which Hervey had given them, I judged it might be of advantage to the truth, to clothe them in an English dress. How far I have succeeded in doing justice to the original, belongs to others to determine. This, however, I can aver, that in no instance have the author's sentiments been willingly misrepresented. Such as are not strangers in our Israel, will easily perceive that the topics, insisted on here, coincide in a great measure with those in the Marrow of Modern Divinity: a book recommended by the venerable Hog of Carnock; condemned by the General Assembly of the church of Scotland, anno 1720; vindicated by the twelve brethren*, and long supported by the whole body of the Secession.
remarkable candour of the sentiments."
Having stripped our author's little volume of its Latin dress, I deemed it necessary to add some notes for the further elucidation of gospel truth. But these swelling to a far greater size, than was at first intended, it seemed more proper to give them by themselves, than along with the translation. By this method, the reader is noways interrupted in perusing the author; nor his eye and attention every now and then called off by foot notes. These will be more properly consulted on a second reading of the Animadversions, than at the first. In some instances I have adventured to differ from our very venerable
author. But these not affecting the substance of the .. doctrine, nor the power of godliness, need create no uneasiness to the reader, And indeed, if such differences be not allowed, church-communion is at an end. Absolute unity of views is not to be expected, till we reach the land of everlasting light. While we know but in part, we must differ in some punctilios.
in Messrs. Boston, Erskine, &c.
The reader will, no doubt, observe that I frequently quote the Westminster Confession of Faith and Catechisms. I do indeed: I am not ashamed of doing so. On a solemn occasion, and before many witnesses, I acknowledged that Confession to be the confession of my faith. And hitherto, I have seen no reason either to renounce, or to refine it. These fifty years I have been acquainted with it and the Catechisms; and I bless the God of truth that I have. Finding that my sentiments agree with them, I have the pleasure to see that I am going forth by the footsteps of the flock: which is certainly as safe, and much more comfortable, than to walk in an untrodden path. Though not within the pale of the Established Church, but sitting under the shade of toleration, I am far from thinking that all legal establishments are improper or unwarrantable. I cannot yet be persuaded, that because error has no right to such an establishment, neither has truth. This would be saying in effect, that as Jeroboam siuned in setting up the calves, 1 Kings xii. 26-33. so did Jehoshaphat, Cyrus, and Artaxerxes, in supporting the true worship of God, 2 Chron. xix. 5.--11. Ezra xi. 11. vii. Il-.-28. or at because kings sin against God in giving their power and strength unto the beast, Rev. xvii. 13. they do the