Candid Reader, observe these few considerations: Although this small manual be very little in itself and substance, yet ought it not therefore to be despised; for,
First. We read how the mighty angel of the Covenant had a very little book open in his hand, (Re 10:2), yet this little book contained the great concerns of the Redeemer's little, little flock; a double diminutive as Christ calls them in Lu 12:32. And that little book was not shut nor sealed, but it was open. It is the work of AntiChrist to keep it shut. Yea, it must also be eaten; "take it and eat it up." (Re 10:9); that is, it must go down and be hid in our hearts ("Thy Word have I hid in mine heart," Ps 119:11); then the simplest soul may have right conceptions of it. "The word [is then] very nigh unto thee, in thy mouth, and in thy heart, that thou mayest do it" (De 30:14).
Secondly. This little book hath cost me great study and labour to compose it, that it might contain the very cream and quintessence of the best Authors on this subject. Moreover, it hath cost me likewise many ardent prayers to God, and many earnest wrestlings with God, that I might not be one "of those that rebel against the light" (Job 24:13); but that in His light I might see light, (Ps 36:9); and to have mine eyes anointed with Christ's eye-salve, (Re 3:18), that I might see clearly into these profound points, which hath so very much puzzled the Christian world. As blessed Athanasius sighed out in his day, "The world is overrun with Arianism;" so it is the sad sigh of our present times, the Christian world is overrun, yea, overwhelmed with the flood of Arminianism; which cometh, as it were, out of the mouth of the serpent, that he might cause the woman [the Church] "to be carried away of the flood" of it (Re 12:15).
Thirdly. Lest this overflowing deluge of Arminianism should bring destruction upon us, there is great need that some servants of Christ should run to stop the further spreading of this plague and leprosy. Thus Moses stood in the gap, and prevented the destruction of Israel (Ps 105:23). Also (Nu 16:48), "He stood between the dead and the living; and the plague was stayed." And the neglect of this duty the Lord complains of, that He found none of His servants to stand in the gap, etc. "O Israel, thy prophets are like the foxes in the deserts. Ye have not gone up into the gaps, neither made up the hedge for the house of Israel to stand in the battle in the day of the Lord. . . With lies ye have made the heart of the righteous sad, whom I have not made sad; and strengthened the hands of the wicked, . . . by promising him life" (Eze 13:4, 5, 22). While I was considering these things, the Lord stirred up my spirit to do as is done in common conflagrations, when everyone runs with the best bucket he can get, wherewith to quench the devouring flames, and to stop them, that they may not lay waste all before them.
Fourthly. When I had completed this short compendium I showed it to Dr. John Owen, Mr. Nicholas Lockier, and Mr. George Griffith, who all unanimously approved of it and wrote an epistle commendatory to it, subscribing it with all their three hands, which is too large here to insert, but the truth of the premises I do hereby affirm.
Lastly. As a little map doth represent a large country at one view, which will take much time to travel over, so this book is multum in parvo, much in a little. Read it seriously without partiality, and the Lord give you understanding in all things.
Yours in the best of bonds,
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