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158060 ASTOR, LENOX AND EILDEN FOUNDATIONS.

1899.

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NSTEAD of attempting to give any Character of

the pious Author of the following Letters, whose true worth was well known in America, he thall give his Readers the two following Paragraphs, which were published foon after his death; and only add, that he hopes this Edition will be found more cor. rect than any of the former three that have

gone

be. fore it.

CHARACTER of Mr DICKINSON, late

President of the College of New Jersey. Ex-
tracted from the Reverend Mr FOXCROFT of
Boston, his Preface to Mr DICKINSON's second
Vindication of God's Sovereign free Grace,
printed at Boston, 1748.
ET I must be allowed to drop a tear over my

deceased Friend, endeared to me by a long acquaintance, and on the most valuable accounts, as a Scholar, a Christian, and a Divine of the first rank, in these parts of the world. His Reafonablenefs of Christianity, his Scripture Bishop, his Scripture Doctrine, his Familiar Letters, shine among his works that praise him in the gates, and embalm his memory. He had a foul formed for inquiry, pe.

netration, warm defenders and constant asserters of those e. • vangelical truths.

YET

netration, accurate judgment, and disinterested at-, tachment to truth. With a natural turn for con• troversy, he had a happy government of his passions, and abhorred the perverse disputings so common to inen of corrupt minds : Nor did he, as is too custo. mary with those of an argumentative genius, suffer the eagerness of contention to extinguish the fer. vours of devotion, or of brotherly-love.--In his exaniple he was truly a credit to his profession ; by good works adorning the doctrine of grace, he was fo zealous av advocate for. - He had generous sentiments with regard to freedom of inquiry and private judgment in matters of conscience and salva. tion, detesting als persecution and imposicions in re.. ligion, and not approving subscription to human teits of orthodoxy. Yet nevertheless, as one set for the defence of the gospel, he boldly confronted what he took to be error, and knew not how to sit an idle spectator, when he apprehended an assault made on the Christian faith. He could not bear the thoughts of being found either a traitor to the cause of Chriit, or a coward in it. Whenever he saw it openly invaded, or secretly undermined, he stood ready to appear in its defence, without consulting his eale or his credit. As bigotry and party-rage, malevolence, calumny and cenfure, too frequently mingling with religious disputes, were his abhor. rence, fo he was an enemy to temporising diffimu. lation, blind charity, politic filence, and that false moderation which sacrifices divine revelations to hu. man friendships, and, under colour of peace and candour, gives up important points of gospel-doctrine to every opposer, but still is consistent with discovering a malignity towards others that appear

From the Boston Gazette, 20th Oct. 1747.

O

Elizabeth-Town in New Jersey, 10th 087, 1747.

N Wednesday morning died here, of a plevretic

illness, that eminently learned, faithful and pious Minister of the Gospel, and President of the College of New Jersey, the Reverend Mr Jonathan Dickinson, in the both year of his age, who had been Paftor of the first Presbyterian Church in this town, for near 40 years, and was the joy and glory of it. In him conspicuously appeared those natural and acquired, moral and spiritual endowments which constitute a truly excellent and valuable Man, a good Scholar, an eminent Divine, and a serious devout Christian. He was greatly adorned with the gifts and graces of his heavenly Master, in the light whereof he appeared as a Star of superior brightness and influence in the Orb of the Church, which has sustained an unspeakable loss in his death. He was of unconimon and very extensive usefulness. He boldly appeared in defence of the great and important truths of our most holy religion, and was a zealous promoter of godly practice and holy living, and a bright ornament to his profession. In times and cases of difficulty he was a ready, wise and able counsellor. By his death, our infant College is de. prived of the benefit of his superior accomplishments, which afforded a favourable prospect of its future prosperity under his inspection. As he lived de. fired of all, so never any person in these parts died more lamented.

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' THE

P R E F A C E.

T

HE irregular heats and extravagancies of some

late pretenders to extraordinary attainments in religion, their imaginary divine impulses, and exstatic raptures, with other effects of their disordered fancies, have cast such a blemish upon the Christian profession, in the eyes of unsettled and unthinking people, that it is well if too many are not in danger of calling Christianity itself into question, from the manifestly falle pretences and enthusiastic flights of some who have put in a clairn to so eminent experi. ence in the divine life. It is therefore thought needful, as well as seasonable at this time, that a brief and plain confirmation of the Christian religion be sent abroad among our people, to establish them in the foundation of our eternal hope. This has been my special motive to the publication of some of the first of the ensuing Letters.

On the other hand, whether for want of duly dif. tinguishing between delusive appearances, and the ge. nuine effects of an effufion of the holy Spirit, or from whatever cause, such has been the violent opposition of some to the late revival of religion in the land, that the doctrines of special grace, and of experimen. tal piety, feem now, by too many, not only rejected and opposed, but even treated with contempt, un. der the opprobrious character of new light, as if they had never before been heard of or professed among us. This I take to be one of the darkest symptoms upon this land that we have ever yet feen.--It must on that account not be unseasonable to represent to our people, in a clear and distinct view, the expe

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riences

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