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ADVERTISEMENT FROM THE EDITOR.
THE Preface will sufficiently explain the circumstances under which this work was originally published, and the improvements which it subsequently received from the author's hand.-Hitherto it has borne no other title than that of 'Remarks' on the Refutation of Calvinism: in this edition I have ventured to make such an addition to the title as may more adequately express the real character of the work. I have also endeavoured somewhat less imperfectly to extend to the other Books the division into chapters and sections, which the author had introduced into the second edition, but had hardly carried beyond the first Book. In doing this however, no alteration has been made in the matter of the work itself, and only in one or two instances so much as a slight transposition in the arrangement: the introduction of a division, and of the title of a chapter or a section, in places which admitted of it, is, for the most part, the amount of the change.
It will be found that in the preface to the second edition the Author states, that by far the greater part of all beyond the fourth Book is wholly ' omitted, as a needless and useless incumbrance.' But, though it might be highly proper thus to disencumber, as far as possible, a detached volume, the progress of which was materially retarded by its bulk, the case might be different in publishing a complete collection of the Author's works. Here it might be expedient to restore whatever appeared really valuable, though, for reasons such as have been stated, it might have been discarded even by the Author himself. Hence I have been induced to examine the cancelled parts of the work and to give many extracts from them. These will be found chiefly in the fifth Book, introduced in the places which seemed most proper for them, sometimes as notes, but generally as additions to the text, enclosed, and thus distinguished from the rest, by brackets. The reader therefore will understand that, wherever he finds paragraphs or
passages printed within brackets, without any initials attached to them, they are to be considered as restored from the first edition of the work. The whole of the Appendix, also, though not thus distinguished, is matter of this kind.
Still, however, the additions thus made may be thought small, when it is known that the parts beyond the fourth Book' originally amounted (including the extracts from the Refutation,') to between 500 and 600 octavo pages. But then it is to be considered, 1. That the Author had interspersed many select passages out of this mass in different parts of his revised work: and 2. On what unpromising materials he had to labour, while hé commented on passages from the Fathers adduced to shew, (1.) their Anticalvinism, and (2.) the correspondence, as the Bishop of Winchester esteems it, though Mr. Scott would rather have called it the contrast, between Calvinism and the dogmas of the early heretics. Of this some judgment may be formed from the general remarks on the Fathers still retained in this work, (Book II. c. iv. § 1. and Book V. c. i.) and from particular specimens which sometimes occur. (See Book I. c. ii. § 17. and the passages concerning Simon Magus, Book III. c. ii. near the beginning.)—A great proportion of these passages scarcely admitted of remarks' permanently interesting. Where any thing of more general application was found, I have endeavoured to select and preserve it.
I beg to say, in closing this advertisement, that, whether the reader come to the same conclusions with the Author or not, on many of the controverted points discussed in this work, he will assuredly find in it a mass of valuable matter bearing upon interesting and important questions, on which very imperfect knowledge is generally possessed, and very inadequate notions generally entertained. For a specimen of these subjects reference may be made to the table of contents of Book I. c. ii.
On this work the Rev. Daniel Wilson says, 'It appears to me incom'parable for the acute and masterly defence of truth. . . . .I venture to call it, in the second edition, one of the first theological treatises of the day: it is pregnant with valuable matter, not merely on the questions directly 'discussed, but on almost every topic of doctrinal and practical divinity.'
It has been regretted by many pious persons, that the controversy, to which the Refutation of Calvinism' relates, has again been revived: but the author of these Remarks does not entirely concur in this feeling, or accord to the opinions. which excite it. Magna est veritas et prevalebit. It is true that, if the persons whose principles are brought before the tribunal of the public, in so energetic a manner, and by so high an authority, do not "take heed to themselves," they may very easily both raise a tempest of acrimonious controversy, and expose themselves and the common cause to additional censure and reproach: but nothing is so unfavourable to the progress of genuine Christianity among mankind in general, nay among the bulk of nominal Christians, as a dead calm. Within the writer's remembrance, the Calvinists, especially the evangelical clergy, were so inconsiderable and neglected a company, that, except a declamation now and then in a visitation sermon, little public notice was taken of them. But now, it seems, they are become so numerous and successful, that, unless more decided measures be adopted, there is danger lest "all the world "should go after them." And in this I do rejoice, yea and will rejoice."
It may be questioned, how far it would be advisable, in present circumstances, for any of our party to commence a controversy: yet there can hardly be a doubt, that it is incumbent on us to say something to the public arraignment of our principles which the Refutation contains.
Had that work assailed those tenets exclusively, which are commonly called Calvinistic, these Remarks would, probably, not have been obtruded on the public notice: but, as many doctrines which belong to our common Christianity are deeply involved in the argument, the contest is no longer about unessential matters, but pro aris et focis. It is indeed allowed that the several doctrines, brought under consideration in the Refutation, have in reality a very intimate connexion or concatenation. Original sin, implying the total want in fallen man of what is good before God, makes way for the doctrine of special preventing grace, or regeneration by the Holy Spirit, in order to true repentance, faith, and renewed acceptable obedience in any of our fallen race. The remainder of this infection in the regenerate, rendering all which they do imperfect or defiled, shews that justification must be of grace, in Christ, and by faith alone, not of works, from first to last and that good works can, in this respect, do no more than evidence faith to be living and justifying; for, the alloy of evil connected with them needing forgiveness, they can do nothing either towards justification, or towards continuing us in a justified state. Regeneration also, being a new creation by the omnipotent power of the Holy Spirit "dividing "to every one severally as he will," must be pur
posed and intended; " for known unto God are "all his works from the beginning of the world :” and, considering the prescience and unchangeableness of God," the eternal purpose which he has purposed in himself" can hardly be excluded; or the conclusion, that those, whom he thus regenerates, he will " keep by his power through faith, unto salvation." Of this concatenation his Lordship is aware; and it would not, it seems, have answered his design, to refute these latter doctrines and leave the others unassailed. Numbers however do not allow or perceive this connexion; and they hold the grand outlines of the doctrine, here called Calvinistic, very decidedly and practically, either silently excluding personal election and final perseverance from their creed, or directly disavowing them.
But, besides the attempt to refute several doctrines which are not generally considered as Calvinistic, but rather as "the faith once delivered "to the saints," for which we are required to " contend earnestly;" the Refutation contains many statements of our doctrine which are erroneous, and arise from misapprehension; so that we are supposed to maintain tenets, not only which we disavow, but which the most systematical Calvinism, well understood, by no includes: and some of these are so incongruous with others, that it is impossible for the same person to maintain both at the same time. Now we must either be willing for the public to conclude that we plead guilty to these charges, (which would be, in our view, base treachery against the cause of truth;) or we must come forward, and