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WITH NOTES, ORIGINAL AND SELECTED,
BY JAMES P. WILSON, D. D.
IN FOUR VOLUMES.
FIRST AMERICAN, FROM THE THIRD EUROPEAN EDITION.
THE NEW YORK
ASTOR, LENOX ANO
District of Pennsylvania, to wit:
BE IT REMEMBERED, That on the seventeenth day of May, in Saal.
the thirty-eighth year of the Independence of the United States of America, A. D. 1813, William W. Woodward, of the said District, hath deposited in this office the title of a Book, the right whereof he
claims as proprietor, in the words following, to wit:“A Body of Divinity: wherein the doctrines of the christian religion, are ex“plained and defended. Being the substance of several lectures on the Assem. “ bly's larger catechisin. By Thomas Ridgley, D. D. With notes, original and "selected, by James P. Wilson, D. D. In four volumes. First American, from ** the third European Edition.”
In conformity to the Act of the Congress of the United States, intitled, “ An Act for the encouragement of Learning, by securing the Copies of Maps, Charts and Books, to the authors and proprietors of such Copies during the times therein mentioned.”—And also to the Act, entitled “ An Act supplementary to An Act, entitled “ An act for the encouragement of Learning, by securing the Copies ot' Maps, Charts, and Books, to the authors and proprietors of such Copies during the times therein mentioned,” and extending the benefits thereof to the arts of designing, engraving, and etching historical and other prints."
D. CALDWELL, Clerk of the
District of Pennsylvania.
In this first American edition the original text remains une altered, the notes which Dr. Ridgley had subjoined to his work are retained, and for the sake of distinction, printed in Italics. The other notes have been added by Dr. Wilson; and in every instance wherein they have been selected by him from others, they are accompanied by marks of quotation, and the name of the author or book from whence they were taken.
THE influence which the different sentiments of men, in
matters of religion, have, for the most part, on their temper and behaviour towards one another, affords very little ground to expect that any attempt to explain or defend the most important doctrines of Christianity, should not be treated with dislike and opposition by some, how much soever it may afford matter of conviction to others. This consideration would have put a stop to my pen, and thereby saved me a great deal of fatigue, in preparing and publishing the following sheets, had it not been over-balanced by what I cannot, at present, think any other than a sense of duty, in compliance with the call of providence. I heartily wish there were no occasion to vindicate some of the great doctrines of the gospel, which were more generally received in the last age, than at present, from misrepresentation, as though the method in which they had been explained led to licentiousness, and the doctrines themselves, especially those of election, particular redemption, efficacious grace, and some others, that depend upon them, were inconsistent with the moral perfections of the divine nature : these are now traduced by many, as though they were new and strange doctrines, not founded on scripture, nor to be maintained by any just methods of reasoning deduced from it, or as if the duties of practical religion could not be inculcated consistently therewith. If this insinuation were true, our preaching would be vain, our hope also vain, and we should be found false witnesses for God, and have no solid ground whereon to set our feet, which would be a most tremendous thought. And, if this be not sufficient to justify my present undertaking, I have nothing to allege of equal weight.
I must confess, that when I took the first step, in order to the setting this design on foot, by consenting that proposals