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With a deep-rooted aversion to the usual practice of apologizing, I feel it necessary to write a preface replete with apologies. My readers, I presume, are prepared to ask a variety of questions, all of which deserve to be answered. First, they will ask me, why my REFUTATION did not appear sooner.
I answer : Much time was lost in vain expectation that some abler advocate would plead the same cause : and, after I had reluctantly engaged in the controversy, my various avocations, and a number of other circumstances, the detail of which would be altogether uninteresting, tended greatly to retard my progress. I regret indeed in common with my readers, that my REFUTATION OF ARIANISM did not appear sooner; but I regret still more, that a much longer period of time was not allowed me for executing a task so arduous and important-for writing a book which embraces a whole body of controversial divinity-a book which professes to defend almost all the leading doctrines of our holy religion. A question, however, of far more importance, and involving a far more serious charge, will probably be put by some of my readers. In your Refutation of Arianism, they will say, why do you attack the Church of England ? Answer—I do not attack the Church of England ; I defend the Church of England ; I de
fend the doctrines of the Thirty-nine Articles. But why, they will ask, do you attack the Lord Bishop of Down and Connor, Dr. Millar, and Dr. Graves-AnŚwer-I do not attack those Dignitaries? I am not the assailant: I am only the humble defendant : I reluctantly submit to the painful necessity of defending my own principles—the doctrines of the Church of Scotland-the doctrines of the Church of England against the attack of those venerable Divines. Was it not, however the querist will say-was it not highly improper to class the Arminians with the Arians ? - Answer-I did not class them; they classed themselves with the Arians. Dr. Millar made common cause with Dr. Bruce in attacking Calvinism. It is not, therefore, from choice, but from necessity, that I have attempted to defend my principles against their united attack. But was it not imprudent to make so many enemies ? - Answer-I hope I have made no enemies at all. Surely the Lord Bishop of Down and Connor, Dr. Millar, Dr. Graves, and Dr. Bruce, are Divines of more candour and liberality than to be offended at me for an humble attempt to defend my own principles -principles which I believe to be founded in truth, in reason and scripture.
Still, however, it will be said, that had I taken no notice of the Dignitaries of the Church of England, the members of that church would have rallied round me; the Arminians would have patronised my publication ; I would have had more friends, and larger profits-All this may be true ; but it does not convince me of the impropriety of my conduct. I contend for truth, not for money.
Accustomed from my youth to submit to privations for the sake of truth, and a good conscience, I will not temporize now when I am
old. No man can finally be a loser by an uncompromising attachment to truth. I know who has said, “ Be faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life.”
But what necessity, it may be said, for mentioning the names of those Arminian divines in my Prospectus, or in my Title-page ? - Answer- Because I do not choose to fight under false colours : I do not wish to practise deception; I wish my Prospectus or Title-page to be a faithful index of my book. My readers, however, will carefully observe, that whilst I contend against Arminianism, as well as against Arianism, I do not regard the two systems as equally remote from truth. I believe that the difference between Arminians and Calvinists is frequently more in words than in ideas : I believe that multitudes who are Arminians in head, are Calvinists in heart. Were the Calvinistic system fairly represented and well understood, I am confident opposition would in a great measure cease. The view I have given in the following Defence is, I flatter myself, agreeable to the standards of the Churches of England and Scotland—it is substantially the same, I presume, with that of the great body of Calvinists. This view I have never yet seen opposed. Anti-Calvinists, so far as I know, have never yet ventured to attack it, though it has been frequently exhibited by such writers as Edwards, Fuller, Newton, and Scott. When our opponents attack Calvinism, they attack a view of it which the Calvinists themselves do not acknowledge.—They form a kind of medley system, composed of passages taken out of their natural order -unguarded expressions extracted from the works of ancient divines—and large quotations from Antinomian writers—this factitious—this monstrous system a system which nobody ever believed, and which nobody defends—they heroically attack, and triumphantly demolish. They then shout victory, and are hailed by the acclamations of the unthinking multitude, • the dupes of their artifice. By such sleight of men and cunning craftiness the simple are deceived, truth is laid low, and error enjoys a temporary triumph. This disgraceful mode of warfare I am reluctantly compelled to expose in the subsequent pages. Should Arian or Arminian divines think proper to follow up their attack-and I have no objections at all to see them in the field-I shall expect them to come forward as honourable antagonists. I shall expect them to attack, not a shadow, not a man of straw, not a mock Calvinism, but the real Calvinistic system, as exhibited in our standards, and defended in the following sheets.
Some readers may perhaps say, You have treated Dr. Bruce with too little ceremony-You are guilty yourself of the very same things which you censure in him-You blame him for using abusive epithets, such as fanatics, enthusiasts, and bigots; and yet you employ language no less severe, as misrepresentation, calumny, forgery, &c.—Answer-I do not blame the Doctor merely for calling his opponents fanatics, enthusiasts, and bigots; but I blame him for using those epithets in a licentious and wanton manner, without proof.-If I arraign a man for theft, and bring forward evidence to substantiate my charge, I may call him a thief; but if without proof I apply such epithets, I expose myself to an action for defamation of character. Dr. B. employs opprobrious epithets without proof or shadow of evidence : it is for this I blame him---it is for this I censure him. On the contrary, I