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A Variety of Seafonable and Important

Subjects in RELIGION.

By JONATHAN DICKINSON, A. M. Minifter of the Gofpel at Elizabeth-Town, New Jersey.

To write the fame Things to you, to me indeed is not grievous, but for you it is fafe, Phil. iii. 1.

I have written briefly, exhorting and teflifying, that this is the true grace of God wherein you ftand, 1 Pet.

V. 12.

Even as our beloved Brother Paul alfo, according to the Wifdom given to him, hath written unto you. As aljo in all his Epiftles, Speaking in them of thefe Things, in which are fome Things hard to be underflood, which they that are unlearned and unftable, wreft, as they do alfo the other Scriptures unto their own Destruction, 2 Pet. iii. 15,



Printed in the Year M,DCC,LXXII


m. 723.




HE irregular beats and extravagancies of fome late pretenders to extraordinary attainments in religion, their imaginary divine impulfes, and extatick raptures, with other effects of their disordered fancies, have caft fuch a blemish upon the Chriftian profeffion in the eyes of unfettled and unthinking people; that it is well if too many are not in danger of calling Christianity itself into queftion, from the manifeftly falfe pretences, and enthufiaftick flights of fome, who have put in a claim to fo eminent experience in the divine life. It is therefore thought needful, as well as feafonable at this time, that a brief and plain confirmation of the Chriftian religion be fent abroad among our people, to establish them in the foundation of our eternal hope. This has been my fpecial motive to the publication of fome of the firft of the enfuing letters.

On the other hand, whether for want of duTy diftinguishing between delufive appearances, and the genuine effects of an effufion of the HoLY SPIRIT, or from whatever caufe, fuch his been the violent oppofition of fome to the late revival of religion in the land, that the doctrines of special grace and of experimental piety feem now by too many not only rejected and oppofed, but even treated with contempt, under the opprobrious character of new light; as if they had never before been heard of, or profeffed among us. This I take to be one of the darkest symptoms upon this land, that we have ever yet seen. It muft on that account be

not unfeasonable, to represent to our people in a clear and diftinct view, the experiences of vital religion, which are neceffary to conftitute them Chriftians indeed. This is aimed at in the publication of moft of the following letters.

The danger we are in of prevailing Antinomianifm, and the actual prevalence that it has already obtained (especially under the name of Moravianifm) in fome parts of the country, is a fufficient juftification of the attempt I have made to fet the foundation-error of the Antinomians in a true light; and to discover its dangerous tendency.

If any are inclined to cenfure me, for troubling the world with new difcourfes upon fuck fubjects as I had publickly treated on before; particularly the evidences of Chriftianity, the Jovereignty of divine grace, faith and juftification: They may confider, that thefe are most important points, and deferve the moft particular illuftration, that there is at this time a fpecial call to remove the objections against them out of the way; and that this is now attempted in a different manner, from my former difcourses on these fubjects; and, I truft, with fome additional evidence to the truth.

If any of my readers are fo curious as to en quire, to whom these letters were directed; it is fufficient anfwer, that they are now by the press directed to them; and if they can improve them to their spiritual advantage, it will anfwer the end of their publication. May the blefling of GOD attend them to this purpose !

J. D.

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