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of God, in thus leading a blind sinner by a way which he knew not. If he love not the truth and professes not to believe the system of divinity which I advocate in the following pages, let him not condemn it as unworthy his notice on account of the style in which it is written, without proving it to be false, lest he be brought to the disagreable necessity of acknowledging that he cannot confute what he affects to dispise. My design is to promulgate truth.It is dear to me, I trust ; and I also think that I feel willing to make personal sacrifices to spread it in the earth. I have not the vanity to suppose that there is anything in the progress of my life extraordinary, or claiming public attention, if I except the wonderful display of God’s grace in the forgiveness of my sins, and subsequently “leading me about and instructing me.” In this respect I do consider my life, or rather the dealings of God with me,” worthy the notice of all ; as I believe it has been a subject of interest and attention with a higher order of beings than mortal men. I have these reasons, therefore, inducing me to lay the following before the Christian public, viz. 1st. An illustration of the goodness and grace of God, and the doctrines of the gospel, by exhibiting and drawing inferences from my own experience. 2d. A true account of the progress of my mind, step by step, in giving up the Arminian system, which I was taught in my youth, and embracing my present views. 3d. A full, clear, and explicit statement of what I do believe to be truth, which I have reason to believe has been often misrepresented, or at least misunderstood. 4th. A hope of doing good by softening the prejudices of my Arminian brethren, against the system of religion which I believe to be the everlasting truth of God. 5th. A fond hope of being a means, in the hands of God, of leading some who are now perplexed in the same way that I have been myself, into the gospel liberty. 6th. An earnest desire to comfort the people of God, and to be instrumental in building them up in the faith of the gospel. 7th. A hope of leading sinners to repentance. In the course of what I have written I have endeavoured to have God’s glory and the welfare of souls supremel in view. I have, indeed, studied to overthrow that j. I believe to be false; but in order to effect this, I have endeavoured to avoid all unfairness in argument, and
consider that what I have advanced is supported by plain, conclusive reasoning, and the word of God. I solemnly declare that I have a most tender regard for many who differ from me on points of doctrine discussed on the subsequent pages. I would not, for the world, unnecessarily hurt their feelings. I write for their good, sincerely wishing them well. hen I use the words Arminian or Arminianism, I use them to avoid circumlocution, and to express, in short, the system of religion which those who are called by this name believe to be true. And I would furthermore state that I do not mean to impeach those whom I allude to, as being Arminians with holding to all which has ever been ranked under that head—but consider them as agreeing, generally, with Wesley, Fletcher, and that class of writers. I ask not the reader to give place to error, if I advance it, but I do ask him to freely admit truth, whatever may have been his former prepossessions, and prejudices against it. I also bespeak his candour in weighing my arguments and forming his conclusions. It is a most desirable event that the people of God should see eye to eye. . Let us therefore hear and endeavour to understand each other. I have many brethren in my native state, with whom I have taken sweet counsel, when I was an Arminian, who now appear to look on me as a hydra-headed monster, because they say I have turned “Calvinist.” Now I beg the attention of these brethren to the following pages, and acknowledge that their special benefit was a subject of no small consideration in bringing me to the conclusion to publish this work, I acknowledge that I have changed my sentiments once, but not but once. This change was completed some four or five years since, and the reason wo I changed I am about to shew. I have given a short sketch of my childhood, &c. thinking that it might be interesting to some. I have endeavoured to avoid ..o. and would not have alluded to any individual by way of censure, if it had been possible to have consistently avoided it. In the account which I have given of my separation from the Free Will Baptists, I have been obliged to do it, or not make the circumstances intelligible. I have nevertheless generally left a blank, instead of inserting the individuals’ names. My object, if I know my own heart, is not to gratify personal revenge on individuals who may have injured me-I leave them to their God and their own consciences. I can truly say, that to touch on the subject of the difficulty which has taken place years ago between myself and the Free Will Baptists, is disagreeable; nevertheless I knew not how consistently to avoid it. It is so; remains so; and they themselves lost no time in publishing it to the world: and as I undertook to write the memoirs of my life,if I were to have entirely passed over that, it would undoubtedly have been concluded by some, that I considered ed myself altogether in the fault, and was unwilling to let the case and circumstances be known. Let it be remembered, that my writings, in reference to this subject, are on the defensive; and not altogether on my own account neither. I shall undoubtedly be considered by them, harsh, censorious, and revengeful, as heretofore ; but I hope, nevertheless, that I have not indulged in a malignant spirit in writing, nor untrue or unjust expressions in reference to the subject. And I am very confident that nothing in all which I have said can be found equally censorious with some of their expressions in relation to myself, particularly some remarks made by one of their preachers in Quarterly Meeting, and afterwards published in the Magazine, not long since, which evidently were made in allusion to me, as I think the author will not deny. To be sure, I have borne testimony against their proceedings, and that for a good reason; because I considered them wrong. If this be considered uncharitable and revengeful, then so be it ; I must bear the mark forever!
I would remark that in the following work I have not entered into a discussion of the subject of the communion, considering that it might not be profitable. I am, however, on the open communion plan, and the church under my care—and of course are not members of the Association. I am, however, as an individual, a life member of the Baptist State Convention, and for two years past have been appointed one of the board of managers, and take pleasure in lending my feeble aid in their Missionary operations, and all laudable undertakings.
Pawtucket, June 4, 1829.”
*If I live until the 22d of this month I shall be thirty-four years old
Laying on of Hands—Views of that subject, &c. - Sl