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and that of the reader. With a just esteem for your abilitics and piety, . . . . . . ,, . I am, Sir, to . . . . . . . . Your's, &c.
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It appeared to me sufficient to establish the point for which I argued, to confine myself to the Acts of the apostles, as exhibiting the principles which the apostles preached, with the design of making con. verts to christian truth and piety: and as fully displaying the success and efficacy of those principles. But I would embrace the opportunity which offers, from presenting this argument again to the public, to take a wider scope, and extend my review of the
doctrine taught by the apostles, through the epistles
to Timothy and Titus. I fix on these epistles, because they appear to have a peculiar connection with the acts of the apostles. In the latter we, as it were,
hear those holy men themselves teaching the way of
salvation: in the former we expect to find instructions, concerning the most useful way of preaching, given to those who were to enter into their labours and carry on that noble work of converting the world, which, after the resurrection of Christ, had conmenced with them. On this account these epistles are peculiarly to our purpose: for they were written to two young ministers of christianity, to supply them with rules for the discharge of the duties of
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their office, and to furnish them with principles of divine truth to communicate to those ministers and officers in the christian church, whom they should ordain in every city. You, Sir, it is presumed, will readily admit, that the tenor of the doctrine they should disseminate and commit to others, would, naturally, form part of the advice contained in letters written to such characters. It is well known, what share the principles they are to preach have in the charges delivered by us to - young ministers, on forming the pastoral relation. These epistles were written by one who was deeply engaged in spreading pure christianity, and to those whose province it was to plant as well as to water the churches. They were written in the confidence of friendship, and with the warmth of affection. We may, therefore, reasonably expect to find the apostle disclosing his sentiments, without disguise or reserve, on matters of importance to. their fidelity, and to the success of their preaching. This expectation ariseth from the declaration of the apostle, that he wrote to Timothy, that “he might
“ know how to behave himself in the house of God,
“which is the church of the living God, the pillar “ and ground of truth.” This expectation is justified, is confirmed, when on opening these epistles we meet repeatedly with a general advice to preserve purity and truth in their preaching. This is not only recommended, bur earnestly urged on them.
It is charged on Timothy, 1 Epist. iv. 16, “To take “ heed
“heed to himself and his doctrine : for in so doing,” saith the apostle, “thou shalt both save thyself and “ them that hear thee.” He is solemnly warned to “keep the commandment without spot, unrebukable, “until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ.” He is exhorted to hold “fast the form of sound words, “ and to study to show himself a workman, that “ need not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word “ of truth.” 2 Fpist. i. 13. ii. 15. The admonition addressed to Titus is “to speak the things which “ become sound doctrine ; showing in doctrine “uncorruptness, gravity and sincerity.” These circumstances give one reason to suppose, that the apostle, in writing to these youthful preachers and advocates of christianity, would not fail to urge them to insist on such topics, as were most essential to the success of their labours. With this expectation I peruse these epistles; I examine them from chapter to chapter, from paragraph to paragraph. No trace of the trinitarian scheme offers to my inspection. No such chain of Calvinistic principles, as you, Sir, think necessary to be insisted on, presents itself to my review. When I look over a scheme of religious principles, lately drawn up as a plan according to which certain modern missionaries proposed to preach to the islanders of the Pacific Ocean *, and into which they are to initiate their
[* See A Missionary Voyage to the Southern Pacific Ocean, in the ship Duff, 4to, Appendix, p. 413–420.] • * D. 4. converts,
converts, and compare this formulary with the epistles to Timothy and Titus, I am struck at the difference between this and the instructions given to those primitive missionaries. Any one, methinks, who calmly and candidly compares the one with the other, must perceive the great difference. If the doctrines, contained in the former, be not only truths, but divine z truths, and essential to the conversion of heathens, the apostle Paul must have been very deficient in the outlines of christian doctrine he gave to those, whom he regarded as stewards of the mysteries of God. In point of compass, in point of minuteness, in the detail of principles, the apostle, sure, must appear to you, if you approve of the scheme put into the hands of our missionaries, to come behind those who have drawn up that form of doctrine. But no one will, I presume, admit an idea so disparaging to the wisdom, the fidelity and attention, which we are all disposed to ascribe to the apostle. His omissions, his silence on the points supposed by some so essential to the efficacy of an evangelical mission, is more remarkable, because the apostle appears to have been particularly solicitous to inculcate on the evangelists, Timothy and Titus, a regard to sound doctrine, and a strain of preaching, that would be most conducive to holy, christian practice. With this view he warns Timothy against those, who “turn aside to vain jangling,” and to matters “which “minister questions, rather than godly edifying:” against