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THE following Discourses are the fruit of studies; commenced when I had the benefit of your Lord tip's instructions from the theological chaitThey are designed as a humble tribute to what I believe to be the truth of that Gospel, a dispensation of which was committed to me by your hands; and for my fidelity in the preaching of which, my present situation in your diocese makes me responsible, under CHRIST, to your episcopal jurisdiction.
These considerations induced me to signify a wish, with which you have been graciously pleased to comply, that I might be permitted to send my Lectures into the world under the fanction of your Lordlhip’s patronage ; affured, at the same time, that an attempt, which has for its object to rescue from misrepresentation fome important articles of our holy Faith, and to vindicate the great body of the national Clergy from much unmerited aspersion, cannot be fo properly infcribed as to one, whose high dignity is accompanied with corresponding exertions for promoting the welfare of our pure and apoftolical Church, and, therein, of genuine Christianity.
HAVING in the following Inquiry ventured on a subject, in itself perhaps of an invidious character, I am anxious to avoid all unnecessary occasion of offence; and would therefore befpeak the candour of
readers on two or three particular points.
An enemy to controversy, as such, apd efpecially an enemy to the bitterness of controversy, it has been my earnest desire to abstain from all intemperance of manner and of language. Firmly persuaded of the truth of those doctrines, which I have been defending, I have endeavoured to plead for them with firmness, but without afperity. If I have been occasionally betrayed into an opposite conduct, and induced to employ expressions, unworthy of my Christian profeffion, I beg that such language may be looked upon as never uttered; or at least may be regarded with indulgence, as the effect of human weakness, and not of a deliberate intention to offend.
In order to ascertain the sentiments of those, whose allegations I have undertaken to ex• , amine, I have principally had recourse to the
writings of the Founders of Methodism, and of the most eminent among those Ministers of the Establishment, who, like the professed Methodists, have been distinguished (I think unduly) by the appellation of Evangelical or Gospel Preachers. From the writings of these authors, to which have been added, as necessary to the fame purpose, some of the works of Augustin and of Calvin, my quotations are neither few nor scanty. In making them, I trust it will appear that I have acted honestly; and that I am not answerable for the guilt of misrepresenting or perverting the sentiments of others, for the benefit of my own cause. At the same time, it may be proper to add, that, as there are probably comprifed under the general descriptions of our accusers, many individuals, who do not subscribe to the opinions which their brethren have avowed, I request that my remarks may not be understood to apply to any, man, farther than as he espouses the sentiments of those, whose works are particularly noticed.
As to my filence concerning a late publicą, tion by a learned Prelate, and the observations to which it has given occasion, it appears respectful to state, that the materials of the following Lectures were collected, and indeed the Lectures themselves were nearly com, pleted in their present form, before, the "Rez