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Entered according to the act of Congress, in the year 1837, by JAMES M. DAVIS, in the Clerk's Office of the District Court of the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.
THE author of the following work would beg leave respectfully to dedicate it to the Universalist ministers and their congregations throughout the United States of America, with the fervent desire and prayer that they may so far overcome their prejudices as to read it, so far be enlightened as to understand it, so far be instructed by it as to see their error,- -so far be warned by it as to flee from danger, so far be convinced by it as to pray for forgiveness, and so far be recovered by it as to die in triumph, and stand at length on the right hand of the Son of Man.
THE author of the following pages was provi dentially present at a public religious meeting of the Universalist congregation of this city, under the pastoral care of the Rev. Abel C. Thomas. On that evening Mr. Thomas had invited the Rev. John Perry, of Reading, Pennsylvania, to preach for him. At the close of the discourse, the author arose and asked the privilege of stating a few objections to some of the sentiments which had been advanced by the speaker. It may be well to state, that at this time the author was wholly unacquainted with the speaker on that occasion, or with the Rev. Abel C. Thomas, or any of his congregation, Mr. Thomas immediately arose, and asked the author if he would be willing to disclose his name. The author immediately gave his name. He was then asked if he would be willing to make known his residence. The author at once stated the place of his abode. He was then asked if he was a clergyman. An affirmative answer was quickly given
to this question. He was then asked if he would be willing that his hearers should, at the close of his discourses, propound objections to him on his theological sentiments. To this question the author replied in the affirmative, saying that nothing would be so gratifying to him, aside from the duty, as to have the opportunity-and to be able, on any occasion, to relieve the minds of his own hearers from any difficulties which they might experience arising out of his doctrinal sentiments.
After these questions and affirmative responses, there seemed but one alternative left-either to hear the objections, or, by refusing to hear them, to acknowledge that error could not stand before truth; and that all the vauntings of Universalists in favour of free discussion, were designed to produce an impression on the ignorant multitude. Leave was accordingly granted to the author to proceed. The time being somewhat limited, the author stated only one objection, and begged leave to give notice that he would reply to the whole discourse on the next Sabbath, in his own church, in the evening. To this, objection was made by Mr. Thomas, on the ground that he and his people would not be able to attend, as they were accustomed to hold meetings themselves on that evening. The author then, in compliance with his request, changed the hour