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PREFACE.

THE following Discourses were originally delivered in Greenock, towards the close of last year, and were again delivered in Glasgow in consequence of a requisition, numerously subscribed, by Christian brethren in that city. They were not prepared with any intention of publication, and their publication has been acquiesced in by the author in deference to the request of those who heard them from the pulpit. It is hoped that, in spite of all their imperfections, they may perhaps do good. They have already opened the eyes of many former opponents who heard them delivered. It will be observed that a few remarks have been appended to some of the Lectures, chiefly of a practical kind, and here and there a few sentences have been added to, or subtracted from, the original manuscript. This was deemed necessary as each Lecture was necessarily prepared rather hurriedly and formed one of three discourses preached weekly to a kind and indulgent people. The author is no advocate in general for three discourses being extorted from any viii minister each successive Sabbath, but there are exceptions to every general rule; and the present position of the cause with which he has the privilege to be connected, induces the necessity for more abundant labour upon brethren in the ministry. When he was a minister in the United Secession (now United Presbyterian) Church, the author was wont to think that Sabbath evening sermons, in addition to other work, was a cunning device of Satan, for the purpose of killing the clergy. He thinks so still. On this point he is quite orthodox in sentiment. It is a remarkable circumstance however, that so long as the author was orthodox upon other points he never found it either necessary or expedient regularly to trespass in his labour beyond the ordinary canonical hours of public Sabbath-day worship, i. e., forenoon and afternoon. It would perhaps be too sweeping and hasty an inference to conclude from this simple fact, that Satan has a particular liking for modern orthodoxy. Such would be a very hasty conclusion to draw from one solitary fact, assuming that fact to be correct,, and withal it would be vastly uncharitable to include our ancient orthodox friends in an alliance with the wicked one, unless the fact of such an alliance can be clearly demonstrated. If, however, such a demonstration be possible, then it ceases to be uncharitable to exhibit it, and thus to warn our esteemed brethren of their position and their danger. In this case, brotherly love and ancient friendship and affection, demands the production of the evidence which would demonstrate, ixbeyond the possibility of refutation, that, under the banner of truth, our orthodox brethren are really, though undesignedly, engaged in the support and propagation of deadly error. Such is the evidence which we profess to exhibit in the following Lectures. It is for the reader to say, after a candid and prayerful examination of the evidence, whether or not it amounts to a satisfactory demonstration. If it do not, we know enough of our former brethren, to assert that there is among them, more especially in this good town of Greenock, plenty of orthodox zeal, and plenty of talent and learning, to enable them to point out our mistake. We respectfully invite them to the task, and we pledge ourselves PUBLICLY TO RECANT our error, the moment it is pointed out; and most cordially to thank the brother who shall take the trouble to prove us in the wrong. Should our Calvinistic friends resort to their ordinary mode of warfare, it will not be expected that we should follow them into the region of declamation or personal abuse. Of this we are contented to take our share, in the company of better men, who have preceded us in the advocacy of gospel truth against Calvinistic error. Of such abuse we have many examples in the writings of the great champion of Calvinism, AUGUSTUS TOPLADY, to whom reference is made in the following Lectures.

This writer is pleased to conclude his preface to Zanchius on Predestination, with the following reference to a man of whom the world was not worthy—xJOHN WESLEY—with the quotation of which we beg to close our prefatory remarks.

“Here ended [says Toplady] the first lesson: i. e., here ended the preface to the former edition of this tract,—a tract, whose publication has raised the indignant quills of more than one Arminian porcupine.

“Among those enraged porcupines, none has, hitherto, bristled up so fiercely as the high and mighty Mr. John Wesley. He even dipt his quills in the ink of forgery, on the occasion; as Indians tinge the points of their arrows with poison, in hope of their doing more effectual execution. The quills, however, have reverberated, and with ample interest, on poor Mr. John’s own pate. He felt the unexpected pain, and he has squeaked accordingly. I will not here add to the well-deserved chastisement he has received; which, from more than one quarter, has been such as will probably keep him sore, while his surname begins with W. Let him, for his own sake, learn, as becomes a very sore man, to lie still. Rest may do him good: motion will but add to his fever, by irritating his humours, already too peccant. PREDESTINATION is a stone, by rashly falling on which he has, more than once, been lamentably broken. I wish him to take heed, in due season, lest that stone at length fall on HIM. For notwithstanding all his delinquencies, I would still have him avoid, if possible, the catastrophe of being ground to powder.”

Greenock, 68, Union Street,

June, 1848.

xi
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