To the Christian Reader.
DUring the time of my restraint and confine∣ment to my chamber; (which I am not yet wholy freed from) by a late sicknesse, that brought me very low, and some relapses, that kept me down; being by a friend, that came to visit and assist me, advertised, that there was a Treatise abroad, of one Mr. John Salt∣marsh, (a man to me then, save by one or two short Pamphlets, utterly unknown) wherein I was among other late writers pro∣duced, (traduced, I might say) as giving some Testimony to the Tenents of the Antinomian party: I could not but desire greatly to see it; wondring not a little, as aPhocion sometime, what should slip from my tongue or pen, that to that party should be pleasing. Having therefore, to satisfie my selfe therein, pro∣cured a sight of the book, and finding therein the matter repor∣ted answerable to the report that had been made to me of it; I was the rather thereby induced to looke into the work; albeit the very b specious, glorious and deep promising Title it selfe, (which yet sometime is wont to moove matter of c suspition) that the Frontispice at first presented me with, as affording upon an experiment of many yeers, a cleerer discovery of Jesus Christ and the Gospel, sundry soul-secrets opened, and the Gospel in its glory, li∣berty, freenes, and simplicity for salvation further reveiled; might have been d a bush sufficient of it self to invite to such pretious pretended liquor, and to such choise, abstruse and usefull mat∣ter. I tooke some time therefore to read it thorough; and ha∣ving upon a serious and advised survey of it, observed, that not Page [unnumbered] only the godly Ministry both of these and former times, (and as well the Divines themselves as their Divinity) was therein grie∣vously traduced; but the doctrine of the Gospel also miserably corrupted; I could not forbear, notwithstanding my present weaknesse, yet to strain a little; and to hazzard the incurring of some inconvenience; partly for the cleering of my self from com∣pliance with those, whose opinions both in Pulpit and by Pres I have publikely protested against; and partly to unbowel and lay open some part of that unsound stuff that lies closely couched in this covert vault; leaving the further prosecution and discovery of it to some other skilful Anatomists, of more strength, and of better abilities for such a businesse then myself. To this pur∣pose I had inserted the present discours a good part of it, by way of digression, into a worke of another nature, that then hung in mine hands. but having dispatched that, and finding it to have risen to a far greater bulk then at first I intended, or ex∣pected; in regard whereof it was not sodainly like to see light; I thought good again to extract thence what concerned this sub∣ject, and having somewhat further enlarged it, to let it go by it self, that it might the sooner come abroad. If by it any may be stayed, that are but wavering or winding yet that way; or any strengthened and warded against the wiles of such as would withdraw them thereunto, (for of those that are fixed on it, I conceive little hope) I shall have cause to blesse God for it, and to think my paines therein wel bestowed. However, my prayer shal be to the eFather of lights, that he will be pleased in mercy, to fenlighten the minds of his faithfull people amongst us, with that Spirit of wisdom and of light, whereby they may be enabled to gdiscern between sound and seeming, between tru and fals lights; lest mistaking their way, while they are misled by the latter, like those h that fondly follow some blazing meteores, they fall upon perilous and pernicious precipices to the ruine of their souls; and while they think to make a shorter cut of it, as imagining to have found out an easier and more compen∣dious passage to heaven, declining those paths, because to flesh and blood they seem the more harsh and unpleasing, that Gods Ministers out of his word, have formerly chalked out unto them, insteed of attaining what thereby they expected, they run hed∣long on toward hell.