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real advantage redound from hence, because they meddle with things out of their reach, and invade a province chat does not belong to finite mortals, who ought to fubmit their undenktandings to the word of truth, but fhould never affect to be wise above what is written.
We shall always find, that men who wast their time, in projecting methods of explaining what is really inexplicable, have such a fondness for the products of their own fancies, that they think they meet with very hard measure, if the vanity and infufficience of their hypotheses be laid open; but unlessthey reckon themselves to be the persons wich whom wisdom must die, they ought not to be against others using the liberty which belongs to men and Christians: who certainly have as much right, to defend the
truths of the Gospel, as they have to cloud and obscure them.
I know, Sir, your regard for the faith once deliver'd to the saints, is so great, that there is no need to make any apology to you, for my publihing the following work ; I believe it was a regard to the truth, which I de. fend, made you overlook the imperfections of what I wrote, with an honest intention, and induced you to declare your approbation of it. I wish what is now added, may not be unpleasing to you.
That you may be favour'd, every day, with more light into the great doctrines of the Gospel; that you may be blessed with a sufficient measure of health, to make use of the good talents entrusted to you; that your ministry may be abundantly succeeded ; and
that you may be long continued a witness for the truth, and an useful labourer in the church, where your lot is caft, is the sincere prayer of,
Your sincere friend,
And unworthy brother,
HE doctrine of the bieffed Trinity
is a matter of such importance, that
. all who wish well to Christianity, ought ever to be on their guard, against any attempts made, either to weaken thcir faith, or to puzzle their minds, as to this great and adorable mystery : And they, who without any ill design, give out erroneous hypotheses, relating to this prime article of faith, ought no more to be left to vent their fancies without controul, than others who oppose this truth, thro' malice, should be suffered to pass without contradiction.
It was because I really thought the reverend Mr. Watts obscured the doctrine, which he imagin'd he might, perhaps, be able to clear, that I appear'd against his books: and when I finish'd my treatise against him, I had little apprehensions, that I should have farther concern with him : for as I did not think he would be for launching into controversy, so I was deterinin’d, not to concern my self with any other person, who should thrust himself into the debate. As there was occasion, this winter, for a new impression, I took the opportunity to review what I had wrote, and to look into Mr. Watts's books. This made some thoughts occur to me, which, I chose rather to throw together, in the form of a preface, than to trouble the world with them separate.
This small tract was publish'd without my name, not because I was ashamed of any thing contained in it, but that it might make its own way into the world, and that the censorious might have the less opportunity to run it down, without weighing the merits of the cause concerned. It has met with so favourable a reception from many among our selves, and from some of the church of England, whose judg. ments I value, that I can fit very easy and unconcerned, under the bitter invectives, which have been utter'd against it, by the admirers of the gentleman I undertook to refute.
I have however the fatisfaction to find, that tho' this worthy and ingenious person has many, who deservedly esteem him, on other accounts, yet a he has few, very few, who admire him, or who will indeed defend him, as to the things wherein I am concerned with him. . When the first edition was publish'd, I lived not in London, and so I could be guilty of no unfairness, in the title I took to my self, of a diffenting country gentleman. I have now thought it proper, to throw off my disguise, and to sex my name, in order to let the world fee, that I scorn to do, or say, any thing, under cover, which I am afraid of doing, or say. ing, in open view. I would not do any thing in private, without considering, I am in the presence of the searcher of hearts; therefore I look upon my self to be under the lame restraint, as a Christian, whether I choose to be known
a That many who admire Mr. Watts, are not pleased with his attempts relating to the Trinity, appears from hence, that tho' some thousands of most of his other works have been fold; yet an impression of five hundred, of the second part of his dissertations on the Trinity has not gone off. .