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433
A PREFACE

by his american friends.

Though the doctrine here maintained by our dear and reverend brother, was brought over hither by the pious and judicious fathers of this country from the Puritans in England, and held by them and their successors in our churches above threescore years without dissension; yet some good and learned men have since gone into another way of thinking in this matter. And as the word of god is our only rule of judging, and this only can bind the conscience in religion, it must needs concern every man to search the Scriptures, that he may come to as satisfying a knowledge as may be, whether he has a right to the Lord’s supper, and whether it be his immediate duty to partake of it, or admit of others. And for all that we had hitherto read on this subject, it seemed to us, there wanted further searchings and discoveries.

And though we have not all had opportunity to read the composure following; yet we apprehend the reverend Author singularly qualified to manage this important argument, from his great acquaintance with the Scriptures, and diligent application to the study of them, with a special aim to find the mind of Christ and settle his judgment in this particular; both to get more light himself, and communicate the same to others. And we have this peculiar motive to excite attention to what he writes, that he is so far from arguing from the prejudice or influence of education, that being brought up in the contrary way of thinking, and more inclined thereto from a special veneration of his reverend grandfather; yet on carefully searching the sacred volumes, he was obliged to yield to those convictions they produced in him, and change his judgment.

The following Treatise contains the substance of those convictions, or the particular reasons of this alteration. And if those who are now in his former way of thinking, would with due seriousness, humility, calmness, diligence, and impartiality, search the Scriptures, and consider his arguments derived from them, looking up to god through christ, and subjecting their minds entirely to him, they may either see and yield to the convictions, and find cause to change their judgments also, or will at least continue their fraternal affection to the worthy Author, and others in the same sentiments with him.

We heartily pray that the reverend Author and his flock may for a long time be happy together; that their cordial love and tenderness to each other may continue and operate in mutual and all lawful condescensions and forbearances under different sentiments in these particulars; that every one may be open to light, and guard against all prejudice, precipitance, and passion; that they may be very watchful against the devices of Satan to disunite or disaffect them; that they may study the things that make for peace and edification.—And the god of light, love, and peace, will continue with them.

THOMAS PRINCE.

JOHN WEBB.

THOMAS FOXCROFT.

Boston,.

M. BYLES

August 11, 1746.

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