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El ng lo guapo
WILLIAM WARDLAW, Esq:
I FEEL peculiar satisfaction in inscribing this Volume to you, without your privacy, as a slight acknowledgment of obligations, which, I am fully sensible, can never be discharged. To
under Divine Providence, I am indebted, for all that a son can owe to an affectionate and pious father:
-especially, for the inestimable blessing of early religious instruction, imparted with tender solicitude, sanctified by fervent prayer, and recommended by the force of consistent example. During a long and chequered pilgrimage, you have oft experienced the cheering influence of those blessed truths, which, in this and a former Volume, I have endeavoured to defend;—and have been enabled, “ without rebuke,” to exemplify their practical efficacy, in the faithful discharge of all the personal and relative duties of public and private life.
:, , , , This Reply has swelled in its progress to a degree which I did not anticipate." There åre few things, indeed, to which the phrase crescit eundo?' is more strongly applicable, than to a defensive work in theological controversy:--and, besides the extension of the work itself, various engagements and circumstances, in the detail of which the public could have no interest, have contributed to delay its appearance so unexpectedly-long. --My wish being to make it a final answer, and, as far as possible, to preclude the necessity, on my part, of any prolongation of the discussion, I resolved, some time after having begun, to allow myself freer scope than I had originally intended; conceiving that it would not be justice, either to myself or to my subject, to omit illustrations or reasonings, which might, in any material degree, contribute to the elucidation and settlement of the questions at issue. An assertion may be made in a single sentence, which it may require pages to refute; while the brevity and imposing confidence with which it is made, may increase, instead of lessening, the
necessity for its refutation. But the ground on which I would chiefly rest, in vindicating this amplitude of discussion, is, the paramount importance of the questions themselves, and the infinite magnitude of the consequences dependent upon their just decision; 2consideration, surely, which ought to be sufficient to secure an attentive examination to arguments even much more extended.
Not that I consider the perusal and examination of complicated, critical disquisitions as necessary to enable any reader to resolve these questions for himself, in an enlightened and satisfactory manner, from the word of God. To use: an expression of my opponent, in his Sermon on the duty and manner of deciding religious controversies,-." On quest 6tions so important and fundamental, the language of revela6 tion cannot be ambiguous:", and neither, on the same prins ciples can it be dark, and difficult to be understood. (:09 To the poor the gospel is preached:"--and the holy Scriptures ļike the preaching of our Lord and his apostles, sáre adapted, in their phraseology, not to the learned few, but to the une learned many; --not to 64 the wise and prudent," but ito $6 babeş."! - The way of salvation, as might, a prioris have been presumed, is made known there with so much plainness, that "the way-faring man, though a fool, shall not err there “ in."-But, when attempts are made, by the pride of philosophy, misnamed theology, to pervert these : Scriptures from their obvious and simple meaning, and to make the common people jealous and distrustful, on the most momentous subjects, of that translation of the Bible, in which they have been accustomed to confide, as a faithful exhibition of the mind of God;—when Unitarian geographers endeavour, by the discovery of false readings, false renderings, and false interpretations, to lay down a map of the way to heaven, entirely different from the one which is there so distinctly delineated:-it becomes an imperious duty, rightly to appreciate the pretensions of those, who are thus “ confident “ that they themselves are guides of the blind, lights of them 6 who are in darkness, instructors of the foolish, and teach
ers of babes;” to expose, as far as we are able, the unsoundness of their specious criticisms, and the fallacy of their high-minded reasonings; that, by this means, the faith of the stedfast may be confirmed, the confidence of the wavering restored, and those reclaimed from their wanderings, who may, unhappily, have been induced to forsake “ the good 6 and the right way."
The last of the “ Discourses on the principal points of 6 the Socinian Controversy," closed in the following terms: 6. If it shall be found that these objects,” (namely, the glory of God, and the eternal interests of men) " which are in their “ nature inseparable, have been, in the smallest degree, pro6 moted;—that the faith of God's people has been strengthen6 ed, or the minds of the wavering settled;—that, in any one instance, the gainsayer has been convinced, or the