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TO THE READER.
THIS small treatise hath no other design but thy good, and establishment in the truth: and
therefore, as laying afide that consideration ^ alone, I could desirously have been excused b from the labour of those hours which were
spent in its composure: so in the work itself, I admitted of no one thought, but how the things treated of in it, might, and ought to be managed unto thy spiritual benefit and advantage. Other designs most men have in writing what is to be exposed to public view, and lawfully may
have fo; in this I have nothing but merely thy good. I have neither been particularly provoked, nor opposed by the adversaries of the truth here pleaded for; nor have any need, from any self-respect, to publish such a small plain discourse as this is: love alone to the
truth, and the welfare of thy soul, have given efficacy to their importunity, who pressed me to this small service.
The matters here treated of are on all hands copfeffed to be of the greatest moment; such as the eternal welfare of the souls of men is immediately and directly concerned in. This all those who believe the sacred truths here proposed and explained, do unanimously profess and contend for; nor is it denied by those by whom they are opposed. There is no need therefore to give thee any special reasons to evince thy concernment in these things, nor the greatness of that concernment, thereby 10 induce thee unto their serious confideration. It were well indeed that these great, sacred, and mysterious truths, might, without contention or controversies about them, be left unto the faith of believers, as proposed in the scripture, with that explanation of them, which, in the ordinary ministry and dispenfation of the gospel, is neceflary and required.
Certainly these tremendous mysteries are not by us willingly to be exposed, or prostituted to the cavils of every perverse. querift
and difputer; thofe συζητηται το αιώνος τέτο; whose pretended wisdom, indeed ignorance, darkness, and folly, God hath designed to destroy in them and by them. For my part, I can assure thee, reader, I have no mind to contend and dispute about these things, which I humbly adore and believe as they are revealed. It is the importunity of adversaries, in their attempts to draw and seduce the souls of men from the truth and fimplicity of the gospel, in these great fundamentals of it, that alone can justify any to debate upon, or erastically to handle these awful mysteries. This renders it our duty, and that indispensably, inasmuch as we are required to contend ear• nestly for the faith once delivered unto the ' saints. But yet also when this necessity is imposed on us, we are by no means discharged from that humble reverence of mind, wherewith we ought always to be conversant about them; nor from that regard unto the way and manner of their revelation in the scripture, which may preserve us from all unneceffary intermixture of litigious or exotick phrases and expressions, in their affertion and declaration. I know our adversaries would, upon the matter, decry any thing peculiarly A3
myfterious mysterious in these things; although they are frequently and emphatically in the scriptures affirmed so to be. But whilst they deny the mysteries of the things themselves, which are such as every way become the glorious being and wisdom of God, they are forced to asign such an enigmatical sense unto the words, expressions, and propofitions wherein they are revealed and declared in the scripture, as to turn almost the whole gospel into an allegory, wherein nothing is properly expressed, but in fome kind of allufion unto what is fo else. where; which irrational way of proceeding, leaving nothing certain in what is or may be expressed by word or writing, is covered over with a pretence of right reason, which utterly refuseth to be so employed. These things the reader will find afterwards made manifeft, fo far as the nature of this brief discourse will bear. And I shall only defire these few things of him that intends its perusah. First, That he would not look on the subject here treated of, as the matter of an ordinary controversy in religion.
Neque enim hic levia aut ludicra petuntur Præmia; lectoris de vita animæque falute Certatur.
They They are things which immediately and directly, in themselves, concern the eternal falvation of the souls of men; and their confideration ought always to be attended with a due fenfe of their weight and importance. Secondly, Let hiin bring with him a due reverence of the majesty, and infinite, incomprehenfible nature of God; as that which is not to be prostituted to the captious and fophiftical scanning of men of corrupt minds, but to be humbly adored, according to the revelation that he hath made of himself. Thirdly, That he be willing to fubmit his foul and con, Science to the plain and obvious sense of scripture 'propofitions and testimonies, without seeking out evalions and pretences for unbelief. These requests. I cannot but judge equal, and fear not the fuccess, where they are fincerely complied withal.
- I have only to add; that in handling the doctrine of the fatisfaction of Christ, I have proceeded on that principle, which, as it is fully confirmed in the scripture, so it hath constantly been maintained and adhered unto by the most of those, who with judgment and success have managed those controversies