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in reading God's holy word, and in fervent prayer for divine instruction.
It had been infinitely wiser for the Israelites in the wilderness to have spent their time in prayer to God, than in murmuring against him. Their corruptions made them so blind that they could not see: and then they laid all the blame upon God. For which God doomed them to wander and fall in the wilderness, and never reach the holy land. And they were our ensamples ; and these things were written for our instruction. O, therefore my brother, let us in this benighted world, how dark soever things appear, not cavil against any the ways of God; but rather humbly cry to him for divine grace, to enable us to believe, thoroughly to believe, that “supreme wisdom cannot err.” And accordingly,“ heartily to acquiesce in the dispensations of supreme wisdom ; and humbly admire and adore, where we cannot fully comprehend ;” in a firm belief that all the affairs of the universe are by him conducted in such an infinitely perfect manner, as that when “ full day shall be poured on all the ways and works of God,” they will appear in such a light as to bring the greatest glory to God, and good to the system; and so fill all holy beings with“ unspeakable joy," and the most exalted thoughts of God. And even be a source of eternal instruction, and means of the swiftest progress in humility, holiness and happiness, in the intellectual system for ever and ever. While all join in eternal praises to the infinitely wise God, of whom, and through whom, and to whom, are all things : to whom be glory for ever. Amen.
THERON, PAULINUS, AND ASPASIO,
LETTERS & DIALOGUES
U PON THE NATURE OF
LOVE TO GOD, FAITH IN CHRIST, ASSURANCE
TITLE TO ETERNAL LIFE
SOME REMARKS ON THE SENTIMENTS
THE REV. MESSIEURS HERVEY AND MARSHAL,
ON THESE SUBJECTS.
“ Amidst all the darkness and uncertainty which evidently run through “ the writings of the best of men, this is our unspeakable happiness, that
we have a more sure Word of Prophecy; to which we do well to take heed. “ As for ence, that cannot be given, and ought not to be taken, wh all
we advance is strictly conformable to the unerring rule of truth. I bave “ nothing to do with the persons of men, but with the truths of the Gospel. “ Ouranius, though eminently devout, may be mistaken.”
IF Paulinus' sentiments, finally 'embraced by Theron, and exbibited in the following Letters and Dialogues, are agreeable to the Holy Scriptures, there needs no apology for publishing them, at a time when the contrary errors so much prevail in the British dominions. And it is hoped, candid readers will easily excuse the mentioning by name some authors in the contrary scheme, as they seem to be ésteemed the best on that side of the question. If his sentiments are wrong, let some man of a clear head and a friendly heart, set him right, from the sacred oracles of truth. And it will be accepted as well by him, as by the public, with the utmost gratitude. For these are points in which our dearest, our spiritual and eternal interest is greatest concerned. And it is even of infinite importance, that we know the truth before it is too late.
“ Should any thing be urged,” says Mr. Hervey, (in the preface to his Theron and Aspasio,)“ forcible enough to overthrow my arguments, or detect a mistake in my sentiments, the world may depend upon seeing a free and undissembled retraction. I shall look upon it as a duty, which I owe to my conscience, to my readers, and to my God, publicly to acknowledge the error.” And indeed, we who claim to be the ministers of Christ, are quite insensible to the honour of God, and to our own eternal interest, as well as the eternal interest of our fellow-creatures; if we are not conscientiously concerned to advance and maintain the truth, and nothing but the truth. Wherefore, to the above-recited declaration of Mr. Hervey, the publisher of these Letters and Dialogues, says Amen, with all his heart.
N. B. As Paulinus had some other books in view, besides the two chiefly referred to; so Theron has sometimes introduced a text of Scripture, an argument, &c. not contained in either of these books, and for which these two authors are not answerable.
POSTSCRIPT BY ANOTHER HAND.
As it appears by the conclusion of Theron's last letter, that he had not then received the melancholy tidings of his dear friend Aspasio's death, no candid reader will object to him the absurdity of writing letters to the dead. And it will be an abuse upon the publisher of this piece, to suppose it is his intention to detract from the character of such worthy men as Mr. Hervey and Mr. Marshal, or to hinder the perusal of their writings. In these, no doubt, he saw many excellencies; and was not insensible they might give a judicious reader not a little profitable entertainment, by the blessing of God. However, as he apprehended the truth, in some important cases, clouded by some unhappy mistakes, while he rejoiced in the former, he was willing to bear his testimony against the latter. And whatever honours are due to the memory of the just, if the doctrine of Christ, their Lord and ours, has suffered, or is liable to suffer in any measure, by means of their mistakes, that has an unquestionable claim to superior honours, and ought in all things to have the pre-emi