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THE Author's first intention was merely to incorporate a few Strictures on Bishop TOMLINE'S "Refutation" in a new edition of another work, on Divine Equity and Sovereignty,—which he still means to publish. This design was accordingly announced; but finding many. of his friends desirous of having the Strictures in a detached form, and containing a professed Reply to his Lordship's attack on modern Calvinists, he has taken their advice; and now offers his "Examination" to the candid perusal of the dignitary whose work is the subject of it, and to the tribunal of the public.
The term "Modern Calvinism," which expresses the Calvinism here" defended,” is adopted for three reasons. First, because this is what his Lordship evidently wishes to oppose, and by the rapid spread of which he appears to be displeased. He is aware that Calvinism is industriously and successfully propagated,---and by some obnoxious passages out of CALVIN'S Works he endeavours to convince the public mind, that such tenets ought to be exploded. It is therefore proper that the public should be also aware, that the Calvinism of the body of people, attacked indiscriminately by his Lordship, does not include the whole of what he ascribes to them. A second reason is, because the great majority of those who pass under the general denomination, in modern times, regard some of CALVIN'S positions as mere exceptionable inferences, which he has drawn from parts of his own system with too much haste, or
They consider these
too little caution. inferences (especially somé deduced from the doctrine of divine decrees,) as injurious excrescences, which deform the general beauty of his theological scheme, and which do not contribute to its real strength. In brief, they consider his fundamental premises, viewed in their proper light, as neither requiring nor admitting some of his conclusions, which have given just offence to a large portion of Christians who still retain his name,--and who are induced to retain it (as a term of distinction) because they apprehend that no other of the reformers, of whatever country, nor even any of the Christian Fathers, have so beautifully exhibited, or so ably defended the scripture doctrine of Sovereign Grace. A third reason is, because the modern Calvinists in general, in this country, do not adopt the ecclesiastical discipline which was originally included in