The Reign of Grace
Preface to the Last Corrected Edition
I SHALL not offer any apology to the public, on behalf of the ensuing treatise. For if the leading sentiments adopted and defended in it correspond with the unerring oracles, I have no apprehensions from the frowns of men; and if not, it would be impossible, by the most labored apology, to justify my conduct.
The doctrine of sovereign grace is here maintained and handled in a practical manner. It has been my endeavor, in the following pages, not only to state and defend the capital truths of the gospel, in a doctrinal way; but also to point out their peculiar importance, as happily adapted to awaken the conscience, and comfort the heart; to elevate the affections, and influence the whole conduct in the way of holiness.
To this edition of The Reign of Grace, I have made large additions. The principal of which is, an entire chapter upon Election; which renders the scheme of doctrines more complete, and the contents of the book more answerable to the title. I also thought it my duty, in a particular mariner, to bear a public testimony to that important part of revealed truth; having in my younger years greatly opposed it, in a poem On absolute Predestination. Which poem, if considered in a critical light, is despicable; if in a theological view, detestable: as it is an impotent attack on the honor of Divine grace, in regard to its glorious freeness; and a bold opposition to the sovereignty of God. So I now consider it, and as such I here renounce it.
However the doctrine of Reigning Grace may be decried as licentious, it is that very truth which God in all ages has delighted to honor; which the Divine Spirit has owned for the information and comfort, for the holiness and happiness of sinful men. Were I not fully persuaded of this, rather than appear as an advocate for it, I would condemn my tongue to everlasting silence, and my pen to perpetual rest.
I have nothing further to add, by way of preface, except my ardent prayers, that a divine blessing may attend every perusal of the following chapters; so as to make the performance really useful, and cause it to answer some valuable purposes for the great Redeemer's glory.