THE AUTHORíS PREFACE
THE following discourse in intended, not merely as an answer to any particular book written against the doctrine of Original Sin, but as a general defense of that great important doctrine. Nevertheless, I have in this defense taken notice of the main things said against this doctrine, by such of the more noted opposers of it as I have had opportunity to read: particularly those two late writers, Dr. Turnbull and Dr. Taylor, of Norwich; but especially the latter, in what he has published in those two books of his, the first entitled, The Scripture-Doctrine of Original Sin proposed to free and candid Examination; the other, his Key to the Apostolic Writings, with a Paraphrase and Notes on the Epistle to the Romans. I have closely attended to Dr. Taylorís Piece on Original Sin, in all its parts, and have endeavored that no one thing there said, of any consequence in this controversy, should pass unnoticed, or that anything which has the appearance of an argument, in opposition to this doctrine, should be left unanswered. I look on the doctrine as of great importance; which everybody will doubtless own it is, if it be true. For, if the case be such indeed, that all mankind are by nature in a state of total ruin, both with respect to the moral evil of which they are the subjects, and the afflictive evil to which they are exposed, the one as the consequence and punishment of the other; then, doubtless, the great salvation by CHRIST stands in direct relation to this ruin, as the remedy to the disease; and the whole gospel, or doctrine of salvation, must suppose it; and all real belief, or true notion of that gospel, must be built upon it. Therefore, as I think the doctrine is most certainly both true and important, I hope, my attempting a vindication of it, will be candidly interpreted; and that what I have done towards its defense, will be impartially considered, by all that will give themselves the trouble to read the ensuing discourse; in which it is designed to examine everything material throughout the Doctorís whole book, and many things in that other book, containing his Key and Exposition on Romans; as also many things written in opposition to this doctrine by some other modern authors. Moreover, my discourse being not only intended for an answer to Dr. Taylor, and other opposers of the doctrine of original sin, but for a general defense of that doctrine; producing the evidence of the truth of the doctrine, as well as answering objections made against it; I hope this attempt of mine will not be thought needless, nor be altogether useless, notwithstanding other publications on the subject.
I would also hope, that the extensiveness of the plan of the following treatise will excuse the length of it. And that when it is considered, how much was absolutely requisite to the full executing of a design formed on such a plan; how much has been written against the doctrine of original sin, and with what plausibility; how strong the prejudices of many are in favor of what is said in opposition to this doctrine ó and that it cannot be expected, anything short of a full consideration of almost every argument advanced by the main opposers, especially by this late and specious writer, Dr. Taylor, will satisfy many readers ó how much must unavoidably be said in order to a full handling of the arguments in defense of the doctrine; and how important the doctrine must be, if true; I trust, the length of the following discourse will not be thought to exceed what the case really required. However, this must be left to the judgment of the intelligent and candid reader.
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