« EdellinenJatka »
We believe that through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ
we shall be saved.-Peter.
Gratia non erit Gratia ullo modo, nisi sit gratuita omni modo.
TO THE EECOND LONDON EDITION.
I SHALL not offer any apology to the Public,
behalf of the ensuing Treatise. For if the leading sentiments adopted and defended in it correspond with the unerring oracles, I have no apprehensions from the frowns of men : and if not, it would be impossible, by the most laboured apology to justify my conduct.
The doctrine of sovereign grace is here maintained, and handled in a practical manner.
It has been my endeavour, in the following pages, not only to state and defend the capital truths of the gospel, in a doctrinal way ; but also to point out their peculiar importance, as happily adapted to awaken the conscience, and comfort the heart ; to elevate the affections, and influence the whole conduct in the way of holiness.
To this edition of The Reign of Grace, I have made large additions. The principal of which is, an entire chapter upon Election ; which renders the scheme of doctrines more complete, and the contents of the book more answerable to the title. I also thought it my duty, in a particular manner, to bear a public testimony to that important part of l'evealed truth ; having in my younger years greatly opposed it, in a Poem On absolute Predestination. Which Poem, is considered in a critical light, is despicable ; if in a theological view detestable : as
it is an impotent attack on the honor of divine grace, in regard to its glorious freeness; and a bold opposition to the sovereignty of God. So I now consider it, and as such I here renounce it. However the doctrine of Reigning Grace may
be decried as licentious, it is that very truth which God in all ages has delighted to honour; which the divine Spirit has owned, for the information and comfort, for the holiness and happiness of sinful
Were I not fully persuaded of this, rather than appear as an advocate for it, I would condemn my longue to everlasting silence, and my pen to perpetual rest.
I have nothing further to add, by way of Preface, £xcept my ardent prayers, that a divine blessing may attend every persual of the following chapters; so as to make the performance really useful, and cause it to answer some valuable purposes for the great Redeemer's glory.
The gospel of Reigning Grace, being a doctrine
truly divine, has ever been the object of the world's contempt. It was of old a stumbling block to the self-righteous Jew, and foolishness to the phi. losophic Greek. Paul, who was a resolute assertor of the honours of grace, and indefatigable in preaching Christ, found it so by repeated experience ; and that, not only among the illiterate and profane, but also among
the learned and the devout. had frequent occasion to observe, that the religious devotees of his age were the first in opposing the doctrine he preached, and the most hardened ene. mies against the truth of God. The polite, the learned, the religious, were all agreed, to load both his character and his doctrine with the foulest reproaches. Nor was this treatment peculiar to Paulo but common to all his cotemporaries, who espoused the same glorious cause, and laboured in the same beneficent work. The doctrine they preached was. charged with licentiousness. Their enemies boldly affirmed that they said, Let us do evil that good may cume. Thus was their character and their labours impeached : that, as hateful to God; these, as dem structive to man,