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the Experiences of vital Religion, which are necer sary to constitute them Christians indeed. This is aim'd at in the Publication of most of the following Letters.

The Danger we are in of prevailing Antinomianism, and the actual Prevalence that it has already obtained (especially under the Name of Moravianism) in some parts of the Country, is a sufficient Juftification of the Attempt I have made to set the Foundation-Error of the Antinomians in a true Light, and to discover its dangerous Tendency.

If any are inclined to cenfure me for troubling the World with new Discourses upon such Subjects as I had publicly treated on before, particularly the Evidences of Christianity, the Sovereignty of divine Grace, Faith and Justification ; they may consider, that these are most important Points, and deferve the most particular Illustration ; that there is at this Time a special Call to remove the Objections against them out of the Way ; and that this is now attempte ed in a different Manner from my former Discourses on these Subjects; and, I trust, with some addi. tional Evidence to the Truth.

If any of my Readers are so curious as to enquire, to whom thefe Letters were directed, 'tis sufficient Answer, that they are now by the Press directed to them; and if they can improve them to their spiritual Advantage, it will answer the End of their Publication. May the Blessing of GOD attend them to this purpose.

J. D.

CON

(1)

FAMILIAR LETTERS

ON A

Variety of Religious SUBJECTS,

LETTER I. Wherein the Danger of

Infidelity is briefly represented.

I

What you

SIR, Heartily rejoice to hear from you, that you are at last come into a “ Resolution, immediately

to enter upon a serious and impartial Exa“ mination of the Christian Religion.' observe is certainly true, “ that this is an Affair of

too great consequence to be carelesly negle&ted, “ to be decided at the Club, or to be rejected by " Wholesale, with the too. common Arguments of “ Mirth and Raillery, Sneer and Banter.". I should therefore be inexcusable, should I refuse a Compliance with your Request, to “ maintain a Correspondence with you by Letter; and assist

you, what I can, in your Enquiries into the Truth of Christianity, the Nature of the Chri« ftian Institution, and the Character and Qualifi« cations of those who are intitled to the Rewards " therein promised.” But what can a Gentleman of your Capacities expect from me? And bas not this Cause been clearly and fully handled, especially of late, by a Variety of Authors ? Has it not triumphed over all 'Opposition? Have not its B

poc

poor deluded Opposers been covered with Shame and Confusion, in all their feeble Attempts to subvert our Faith, and to destroy the blessed Hope of our future Happiness? And are not these Books in your Hands ?--Read them, Sir, with that Attention which such an awful and important Affair demands of you; and I think you can't fail of obtaining Conviction and Satisfaction.

To your Inquiry, “ How shall I first enter up

on a proper Disquisition of this Cause?” I anfwer, in a few Words. Consider the Importance of it': Consider, I intreat you, that it is an eternal Concern. Were this duly consider'd, it would be impossible for you to content yourself in such a State, wherein there is so much as a Peradventure as to the dreadful and astonishing Consequences of a Disappointment.

You may perhaps have hitherto concluded all revealed Religion to be but a mereCheat and Imposture.

You may have borne your Part in the Conversation at Taverns or Coffee-houses, against Priestcraft, Cant, and Enthusiasm.-- You may have ridiculed all Pretences to vital Piety; and exploded all the Gospel Doctrines respecting future Rewards and Punishments, as unreasonable, or unintelligible Dreams and Fictions.-Well! supposing you were in the Right, What Happiness, what Comfort or Satisfaction would your Infidelity afford you !---What rational Man would envy you the Confolation of imagining yourself upon a Level with the Beasts, and of expecting that Death will terminate all your Hopes and Fears ! - What Believer would part with the glorious Hope of eternal and inexpressible Happiness and Joy, for the gloomy Prospect of Annihilation !

It is certain, upon this Supposition, the Believer wa be in no Danger; he has nothing to lose, or

to

to fear; but has every way the Advantage of you. - He has the present Satisfaction of being a Favourite of Heaven.--He has a continual Source of Support and Comfort, amidst the darkest Scenes of Pro. vidence, from the gracious Promises of the Gospel. -He can overcome the Miseries of Life, and the Terrors of Death, with the ravishing View of a blessed Immortality.-And it is certain, if mistaken, he will never lament his Disappointment, but sleep as quietly in a State of Non-existence as you

can do.

1

But perhaps I have mistook your Sentiments. You may poisibly have given into an Opinion of a future Existence, though you have call'd the Truth of the Gospel into Question. -- Be it so. · Yet, upon this Suppofition also, the Believer has valtly the Advantage of you. He has all the Happiness in this Life which Christianity affords; and this you must be a Stranger to.--He can live in Com.fort, and die in Peace.- His Religion deprives him of nothing, which can any way contribute to his rational Happiness and Delight; but every

Way tends to subserve and promote them. And s certainly (even upon your own Principles) he

may have as fair a Claim to Sincerity, in his Endeavours to approve himfelf to the glorious Author of our Being, as you can have; and consequently as good a Prospect of future Blessedness. -So that, upon the whole, it is evident that he has nothing to fear from his Principles, whether they be true or falfe. He has no Cause for those stinge ing Reflections, What if I am mistaken! What if my Sentiments should prove false, when it comes to the decisive Trial !

And now, let us turn the Tables; and consider the bitter Fruits of your fatal Mistake, if Chriftianity should at last prove true.

-You can't but ac.

knowledge,

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