The Fourth Forward-Addressed to the Christian Reader.
By Author Unknown
Although I am a stranger to you, yet having read your excellent book (which I borrowed from someone) I thought it would be good to let you know how much I enjoyed it, and also how much satisfaction and comfort I received by it. I studied these points several years ago very diligently, having been at that time forced into defending them by a strong adversary; one of subtle prowess, though otherwise a very common and mean man. But I have often said that I am indebted to him for his opposition for I would never have studied so hard and have learned so much on the subject. I gained so much before God in understanding the doctrines of grace by reasoning with this man. I think that then, and since, I have read most of the best books that have been written on those points, but especially that book of books, the Bible. However, after all those other books, I must confess, that yours has given me the most content and satisfaction. For you have most zealously and powerfully laid open the truth and strenuously refuted the objections. I bless and adore that divine grace of the Lord, who of his rich goodness and mercy to his poor distressed and distracted church in this nation has raised you up in a special manner to be such an instrument of his glory in vindicating His sovereignty. You have done this especially well in the high and mysterious points of predestination, particular redemption, the efficacy of grace in conversion, and the perseverance of the saints in holiness. Concerning the absoluteness of the covenant of grace, I cannot but admire to see how you and I agree. I used to say often, several years ago, what I find now in your book, that if the covenant of grace were not absolute, salvation would be as difficult by it, as by the covenant of works because it is as hard for a natural man to believe and live, as it is for him to do and live. Well you have, in my judgment, performed your business most piously, practically, and strongly, and your arguments are invincible— many of which I had never seen before. I do not doubt that you return the praise and glory of all to our great and gracious Lord, who by his mere free grace has enabled you to perform this work which is so much for the glory of his holy name. I commend you, with your labors, to the grace of our merciful Father, and rest, your most affectionate friend,
October 16, 1667