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TO THE CONGREGATION WHO SUPPORT THE LECTURE IN PARK STREET CHURCH ON
MY DEAR FRIENDS,
In dedicating to you a series of discourses prepared for your benefit and now published at the request of a very respectable portion of you, I think I am prompted no less by propriety than feeling. Though many of you do not belong to my particular charge, the lecture which you have contributed to maintain is your own, and these fruits of it are your own. I am glad also to have this opportunity to express my gratitude for the liberality and candour with which you have supported that exercise and statedly listened to the expositions there attempted. As a distinct expression of this sentiment I commit these plain unadorned discourses which you have caused to be preached, to your patronage and protection, while in a higher sense I commend them to the favour and gracious protection of God.
Should strangers chance to cast an eye on the following pages, they will probably regard them with various feelings; but you, my brethren, will certainly read them with candour and kindness, and especially the numerous proofs adduced from the word of God. On these I beseech you to ponder with deep and solemn attention and with many prayers. By the book which furnishes these proofs we must all be judged in the day that shall decide the eternal destinies of men. He is an infidel who will not suffer that volume absolutely to govern his faith, in spite of preconceived opinions or present reasonings. It was to be expected that a revelation of the infinite God would rise above the blinded reason of man. “My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways saith the Lord; for as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” Whoever sits down to these sheets with a proud determination, whatever the Scriptures may decide, to think for himself, will be likely to rise with his old opinions. But the man who enters on the investigation with humility and prayer, will be guided into all truth, whether he finds it in these pages or not. If any reader is resolved not to bow implicitly to the word of God, I beseech him to close the book here.
Should any of you be tempted to think that some parts of this exposition are too much against you, before you decide recollect that you are a party concerned.
In expressing my own views of truth I have had no wish to give offence or pain to others. I have spoken plainly as
time and circumstances seemed to require, and expect to have my motives re-examined at a tribunal from which there is no appeal. If I have censured without the gentleness of the Christian spirit, may God forgive; if with right views and feelings, to him be the praise.
My heart's desire and prayer to God is, that even these discourses may prove of some advantage to you and your children.
EDWARD D. GRIFFIN. Boston, March 26, 1813.
GENESIS vi. 5.
AND GOD SAW THAT THE WICKEDNESS OF MAN WAS GREAT IN THE EARTH, AND THAT EVERY IMAGINATION OF THE THOUGHTS OF HIS HEART WAS ONLY EVIL CONTINUALLY.
Such was the character of the whole antediluvian world, with the exception of a single family. And unless human nature is essentially changed, such is the character, with the exception of those who are renewed by grace, of the whole modern world. But human nature is not changed. It never was tainted with any thing worse than inordinate self-love; it is tainted with that still. The nature of man, like that of other animals, remains essentially the same in every period and condition. “As in water face answereth to face, so the heart of man to man.* Different restraints may be imposed by light, by example, by civilized habits, by divine and human laws, by motives growing out of peculiar circumstances, by more or less activity in the social affections; but till a new nature is implanted selfishness gives essentially the same form
*Prov. xxvii. 19.