Page images

have mentioned the page, and the part of the page, where the thing referred to is to be found : Supposing each page to be di. vided into five equal parte, I have noted the several parts of the page by the letters a. b. c. d. e. So thai" when I have referred 80 the top of the page, or the first fifth part of it, I have mén. tioned the number of the page, and added the letter a, to the Rumber : And if the middle, or third fifth part, then I have ad. ded the letter c. And so of the rest, as the reader will see. I have ever done thus, unless the thing referred to is to be found through the whole or great part of the page. I have also done the same very often, where I bave occasion to cite other authors. Only when I have before quoted the same thing I am not alwaye 30 czaçt and particular in noting the place again, in my second quotation or reference.*

•R ww not thought necessary to insert these references, not the table neationed above in this work, as it is probable few readers will possess Mr. Williams's Book, or wish to atiend so closely to the controyersy.





Observing the general Misrepresentations Mr:

WILLIAMS makes concerning the Book he writes

a against.


Concerning the DESIGN of my writing and publish.

ing my Book, and the Question debated in it.

LR. WILLIAMS asserts it to be my professed and declared design, in writing the book, which he has undertaken an answer to,to oppose Mr. STODDARD. He has taken a great liberty in this matter. He charges me with a declared design of writing in opposition to Mr. Stoddard, no less than nine or ten times in his book. And he does not content himself with saying, there are passages in my preface, or elsewhere, whence this may be inferred ; but he says expressly, that I profess to be disputing against Mr. Stoddard's doctrine p. 14. That I tell my reade78, I am disputing against Mr. Stoddard's question. p. 37. That I tell them 80 in my preface, p. 107. "That I often declare that I am opposing Mr. Stoddard's opinion, P. 152. And on this foundation he charges me with blot

ting a great deal of paper, disserving the cause of truth by changing the question, and putting it in such terms as Mr. Stoddard expressly disclaims, and then confuring it as Mr. Stoddard's principle ; unfair treatment of Mr. Stoddard.” p. 2. “ Surprizingly going off from Mr. Stoddard's, argument to cast an odium upon it, treating Mr. Stoddard and his doctrine in such a manner as to reproach him and his princi. plcs, tending to render them odious to the unthinkingmultitude, and telling a manifest untruth.” p. 14. &c. 15. Whereas, I never once signified it to be the thing I aimed at, to oppose Mr. Stoddard, or appear as his antagonist. But the very reverse was true ; and meddling with him, or what he had said, I studied to avoid, as much as the circumstances of the debate with my people would allow, who had been taught by him, and who so greaily and continually alleged against me the things which he had said. Nor is there any appearance in those passages Mr. Williams cites from my preface, as though this was the thing I sought or aimed at. Nay, one of those passages which he produces to prove it, shews the contrary : As it shéws, that its being so (as I supposed) that what I wrote was not consistent with, but opposite to what Mr. Stoddard had maintained, was an unsought for and unpleasing circumstance of that publication. My words are, “'Tis far from a pleasing circumstance of this publication, that it is against what my honored grandfather strenuously maintained, both from the pulpit and the press." Cer. tainly my regretting and excusing such an unavoidable circumstantce was a thing exceeding diverse from giving notice to the world, that the thing I aimed at was to set myself up .as Mr. Stoddard's, antagonist, and to write an answer to, and confute what he had written. It will, at first sight, be mani. fest to every impartial reader, that the design of my preface was not to state the subject and intention of the book : This is done professedly, and very particularly, afterwards, in the first part of the essay itself. And if I might have common justice, surely I might be allowed to tell my own opinion, and declare my own design without being so confidently and frequently charged with misrepresenting my own thoughts and intentions.

The very nature of the case is such as must lead every im. partial person tò à conviction, that the design of my writing must be to defend myself, in that controversy, which Ihad with my people at Northampton ; as it is notorious and pube licly known, that that controversy was the occasion of my writing; and that therefore my business must be to defend that opinioni or position of mine which I had declared to them, which had been the occasion of the controversy, and so the grand subject of debate between us ; whether this were exactly agreeable to any words that might be found in Mr. Siods dard's writinçs on the subject; or not. Now this opinion' or position was the same with that whicli I expressed in the first part of iný book. In such terms I expressed myself to the committee of the church, when I first made that declaration of my opinion, which was the beginning of the controversy, and when writing in defence of mỹ opinion was first proposed And this was the point continually talked of in all conversa tion at Northampton, for more ihan two years, even until Mr. Wriliams's book came out. The controversy vas, Whether there was any need of making a credible profession of godliness, in order to flersónis being admitted to full communion ; Whetha ér they must firofess saving faith, or whether a profession of com mört faith were not sufficient ; whether fiersons must be esa teened truly godly, and must be taken in under that notion, or whether if they dfifieared morally sincere, that were not suffia dient? And when my book came abroad, there was no objection made, that I had not truly expressed the subject of debate, îi my stating the question : But the subject of debate afterwards, in parish meetings, church meetings, and in all conversation, was the question faid down in my book. No' sugges. tion among them, that the profession persons made in Mr. Stoddard's way, was taken as a profession of real godliness, or gospel holiness ; or that they were taken in ander & notion of their being truly pióús persons, as Mr. Williams would have it : No suggestion, that the dispute was only about the degree of evidence. But the dispute was, what was the thing to be made evident; whether real godtines8 or, moral sincerity ? It was constantly insisted on, with the greatest vehemence, that Vol. I.

2 U

it was not saving religion, which needed to be professed, or pretended 10 ; but another thing, religion of a lower kind. The public acts of the church and parish from time to time, shew, that the point in controversy was, whether the professors of godliness only, ought to be admitted ? Public votes, of which I made a record, were several times to know the church's mind concerning the admission of those who are able and willing to make a profession of godliness ; using these terms. And once it was passed, that, such should not be admitted in the way of publicly making such a profession. And at another time the vote passed, that the admission of such persons in such a way (described in the same words) shou ld not be rereferred to the judgment of certain neighboring ministers. At another time, it was insisted on by the parish, in a parish meet. ing, that I should put a vote in the church, in these words, Whether there be not a dispute between Mr. Edwards pastor of the church, and the church, respecting the question he hath argued in his book last published? And accordingly the vote was put and affirmed, in a church meeting, in the same terms. And this was the question I insisted on in my public lectures at Northampton, appointed for giving the reasons of my opinion. My doctrine was in these words, “ It is the mind and will of God, that none should be admitted to full communion in the church of Christ, but such as in profession, and in the eye of a reasonable judgment, are truly saints, or godly persons." The town was full of objections against those sermons : But none, as ever I heard, objected, that my doctrine was beside the controversy. And this was all along the point of difference between me and the neighboring Ministers. This was the grand subject of debate with them, at a meeting of ministers, appointed on purpose for conference on the subject. It was wholly concerning the matter of profession, or the thing to be exhibited and made evident or visible ; and not about the manner of professing, and the degree of evidence. And this was the doctrine directly opposed by Mr. A-y, one of the neighboring minister's, whom my people had got as their champion to defend their cause in the pulpit at Northampton. Thus one of the corollaries he drew from his doctrine

« PreviousContinue »