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I have placed the Authors from whose works I have given extracts, in chronological order, and stated the year in which each lived ; and that my Readers might have the means of judging of the correctness of the translations, which it has been my endeavour to make as literal as is consistent with perspicuity, I have mentioned the edition, volume, and page, from which I have quoted.
There is so close a connexion between the peculiar doctrines of Calvinism, that I have sometimes found occasion to quote the same texts of Scripture, and to use the same arguments, in different Chapters. My design was to make each Chapter a whole; and I trust that this repetition, in the few instances in which it occurs, will be excused. I must also request my Readers to remember, that what I have said concerning the Parochial Clergy, was a part of my Visitation Charges already mentioned.
At the end of my last Charge, in adverting to the general state of religious opinions in this Country, I noticed the attempts, then recently made, to procure the repeal of the Laws which exclude Roman Catholics from certain offices and
situations situations of trust and power; and I expressed my decided opinion, that those restraints could not be removed without extreme hazard to our Constitution in Church and State. But as this is a subject totally-unconnected with the points here discussed, I have not thought it necessary to insert that part of my Charge in the present Work.
R E F U Τ Α Τ Ι Ο Ν
CHAPTER THE FIRST.
OF ORIGINAL SIN, FREE-WILL, AND THE OPERATION
OF THE HOLY SPIRIT.
IT is evident from the
account left us by Moses,
minds of our first parents immediately after they had transgressed the prohibitory command of God, not to eat of the tree of the knowledge of Good and Evil (a); but the conciseness with which the sacred Historian has described the primitive condition of Man, and his Fall from the state in which he was created, has led to a variety of opinions respecting the effects of Adam's disobedience upon himself and his posterity. Without entering into a detail of the numerous controversies which have arisen in the Christian Church concerning Original Sin, or attempting
to (a) Gen. c. 2. v. 17.
to explain the subtle distinctions and minute differences which we find in Writers upon this abstruse and intricate subject, we may remark, that there have been, and still are, Christians who assert, that Adam transmitted no moral cor-, ruption to his offspring in consequence of his Fall; and who maintain, that the nature of the present race of men is not more depraved than the nature of Adam was at his first creation. On the contrary, there are others, who contend that the sin of Adam introduced into his nature such a radical impotence and depravity, that it is impossible for his descendants to make any voluntary effort towards piety or virtue, or in any respect to correct and improve their moral and religious character ; and that Faith and all the Christian graces are communicated by the sole and irresistible operation of the Spirit of God, without any endeavour or concurrence on the part of Man. The former is the position of the Socinians (a), the latter of the Calvinists. The true doctrine will be found to lie between these two extremes. The heart, the passions, the will, and the understanding, and indeed all the faculties and powers of Adam, were greatly corrupted, perverted, and impaired by his violation of the divine cominand; and this
(a) Some few persons agree with the Socinians upon this point, who differ from them in all others.