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and have in my proceedings conformed to his prace tiie; though never without some difficulties in my view, which I could not solve : Yet, however, a distrust of my own understanding, and deference to the authority of so venerable a man, the seeming strength of some of his arguments, together with the success he had in his ministry, and his great reputation and influence, prevailed for a long time to bear down my scruples.-But the difficulties and uneasiness on my mind increafing, as I became more studied in divinity, and as I improve ed in experience; this brought me to clofer diligence and care to search the scriptures, and more impartially to examine and weigh the arguments of my grandfather, and such other authors as I could get on his side of the question. By which means, after long searching, pondering, viewing, and reviewing, I gained satisfaction, became fully settled in the opinion I now maintain, as in the Discourse here offered to public view ; and dared to proceed no further in a practice and administration incon fiftent therewith: Which brought me into peculiar circumftances, laying me under an inevitable neceflity publicly to declare and maintain the opinion I was thus established in; as also to do it from the press, and to do it at this time without delay. It is far from a pleasing circumstance of this publication, that it is against what my honoured grandfather strenuously maintained, both from the pulpit and press. I can truly fay, on account of this and fome other confiderations, it is what I engage in with the greatest reluctance that ever I undertook any public service in my life. But the state of things with me is so ordered, by the sovereign disposal of the great Governor of the world, that my doing this appeared to me very necessary and altoa gether unavoidable. I am conscious, not only is the interest of religion concerned in this affair, but my own reputation, future usefulness, and my very fubfiftence, all seem to depend on my freely opening and defending myself, as to my principles; and agreeable conduct in my pastoral charge; and on my doing it from the press : In which way alone am I able to statë and juftify my opinion, to any purpose, before the country (which is full of noise, misrepresentations, and many censures concerning this affair), or even before my own people, as all would be fully sensible, if they knew the exact state of the case.

I have been brought to this necessity in divine providence, by such a situation of affairs and coincidence of circumstances and events, as I chuse at present to be filent about; and which it is not needful, nor perhaps expedient, for me to publish to the world.

One thing among others that caused me to go about this business with so much backwardness, was the fear of a bad improvement fome ill-minded people might be ready, at this day, to make of the doctrine here defended; particularly that wild enthusiastical sort of people, who have of late gone into unjustifiable separations, even renouncing the ministers and churches of the land in general, under pretence of fetting up a pure church. It is well known, that I have heretofore publicly remonstrated, both from the pulpit and press, againft very many of the notions and practices of this kind of people; And shall be very forry if what I now offer to the public, should be any occasion of their encouraging or strengthening themselves in thofe Rotions and practices of theirs. To prevent which, I would now take occasion to declare, I am still of the same mind concerning them that I have for, merly manifested. I have the same opinion concerning the religion and inward experiences chief ly in vogue among them, as I had when I wrote my Treatise on Religious Affe&tions, and when I wrote my Obfervations and Reflections on Mr. Brainerd's Life. I have no better opinion of their notion of a pure church by means of a spirit of discerning, their cenforious outcries against the standing ministers and churches in general, their lay-ordinations, their lay-preachings, and public exhortings, and administering facraments; their afluming, self-confident, contentious, uncharitable separating spirit ; their going about the country, as sent by the Lord, to make profelytes; with their many other extravagant and wicked ways. My holding the doctrine that is defended in this discourse, is no argument of any change of my opinion concerning them; for when I wrote those two books before mentioned, I was of the same mind concerning the qualifications of communicants at the Lord's table that I am of now.

However, it is not unlikely, that some will ftill exclaim against my principles, as being of the same pernicious tendency with those of the Separatists : To such I can only by a folemn protestation aver the sincerity of my aims, and the great care I have exercised to avoid whatsoever is erroneous, or might be in any respect mischievous. But as to my fuccess in these my upright aims and endeavours, I -must leave it to every reader to judge for himself, after he has carefully perused, and impartially conLidered the following Discourse; which, considering the nature and importance of the subject, I hope all serious readers will accompany with their earnest prayers to the Father of Lights, for his gram cious direction and influence. And, to Himbe glory in the churches by Christ Jesus. AMEN.

J. E.

PRE FACE.

HOUGH the doctrine here maintained by our dear and reverend brother, was brought over hither by the pious and judicious fathers of this country from the Puritans in England, and held by them and their fucceffors in our churches above threeji sre gears without dissenson ; get some good and learned men have since gone into another way of thinking in this matter. And as the WORD OF GOD is our only rule of judging, and this only can bind the conscience in religion, it muf needs concern every man to search the Scriptures, that he may come to as satisfying a knowledge as mas be, whether he has a right to the Lord's supper, and whether it be his immediate duty to partake of it, or admit of others. And for all that we had hitherto read on this subject, it seemed to us, there wanted further searchings and discoveries.

And though we have not all had opportunity to read the composure following ; yet we apprehend the reverend Author fingularly qualified to manage this important argument, from his great acquaintance with the Scriptures, and diligent application to the study of them, with a speciat aim to find the mind of CHRIST and settle his judgment in this particular ;- both to get more light himself, and communicate the fame to others. And we have this peculiar motive to excite attention to what he writes, that he is so far from arguing from the prejudice or influence of education, that being brought up in the contrary way of thinking, and more inclined thereta from a special veneration of his reverend grand

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