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unfound, or my reasonings weak and inconclusive, that one or other of the many Ministers, who heard me on these occafions, would point it out. That not happening, encourages me now, after so long delay, to venture abroad thefe sheets. Confcious, how liable I am to judge amiss, I remain open to conviction. If I am chargeable with error, at least I am not chargeable with dark and artful methods to dif guife and varnish it over, by saying one thing, when I mean to infinuare quite another,
That Christ, and the benefits of Redemption, were typified by the Law of Mofes ; and that the spiritual sense of Moses's Law, though veiled from the Jews in common, was in some measure revealed to those menn tioned, Heb. xi. I firmly believe. I doubt not, there were many more, whose eyes were opened, under that dark dispensation, to behold wonderous things out of God's Law. Who they were, or how many, Scripture has not determined, and it would be presumptuous to conjecture.
I acknowledge, that hypocrites, whose hypocrisy is unknown, ought to be treated as members of the Christian Church. I account that faith only saving, which is accompanied with an approbation of the Gospel Scheme of Salvation in all its parts, which leads us to come to God thro' Christ for pardoning mercy and sanctifying grace, which purifies the heart from immoderate love of the world, and produces an unfeigned respect to all God's Commandment.--I think a divine revelation absolutely necessary, to discover how guilty creatures may emerge from the ruins of their apostacy. Yet, I cannot see, that confounding faith with its inseparable at. tendants, or necessary effects, is consistent with the important doctrine of justification by faith only. And infidels, I apprehend, may be greatly hardened in their infidelity, by Christian Divines placing the necessity of revelation, on a feeble foundation; while they argue from a fact, which Scripture and Reason concur in contradicting, even this, that the law of nature was not suffer ciently promulgated to the Heathens. O
thers, who difcern not the inconclusivenefs of that argument, may be led to forget the grand defign of the Gospel, and to mistake it for a re-publication of nature's law.
If my notions of the Jewish and Christian dispensations are just, I gratefully acknowledge, I was first led to them by Bishop Warburton's Divine Legation, and Profeffor Venema's Differtations printed at Harlingen 1731. To these learned Writers I would have inscribed the following sheets, was it not, that it might have seemed a pleading their great Names in Patronage of what I have wrote. . That I could not juftly do. In fome particulars I have differed from them. Probably I may have advanced interpretations of Scripture, and improved my sentiments for purposes, which neither of them would chuse to adopt. And had it been otherwise, Reason and Scripture, not human authority, muft determine the question, what is Truth.
Attention to Scripture suggested to me the idea of Faith in the third Differtation. I can cite no uninspired book in fup
port of it. The late President Edwards, in his excellent Treatise on Religious Affections, and some other writers, have indeed laid down principles, from which it may, in my apprehension, be fairly inferred. Yet their ideas of the nature of faith, are fo, different from mine, that certainly they difcerned not that inference. The careless Reader may imagine me favourable to Mr. Sandiman's Hypothesis. But a little reflection will discover a very congderable difference in our sentiments. Mean time, his mistakes about faith are much lefs offenfive, than his discouraging unconverted finners from using the means of grace in oro der to converfion, and his harshly cen. suring Divines as teaching a smooth way to hell, who have clearly asserted those truths, the right belief of which constitutes men Chriftians.
The general argument of the fourth Difsertation appears to me in the same light, as it did three and twenty years ago, when I first published it. But since that time, I have been fully convinced, that many of the most celebrated Philosophers entertained
sentiments absolutely inconsistent with the belief of the soul's immortality, and of future rewards and punishments: and have seen considerable cause to suspect that under the devout expressions of the Stoic Philosophers, a system was disguised, nearly allied to that of Spinosa.
I am sorry my distance from the press has occasioned so many typographical errors. Most of them, I hope, will give little disturbance to the attentive and judicious. But I earnestly intreat, that the Reader would at least correct the error in p. 137, which divests my argument of all force, nay makes me assert the very reverse, of what I intended,
EDINBURGH, Sept. 1. 1764.