AUGUSTUS TOPLADY, B. A.
LATE VICAR OF BROAD HEMBURY, DEVON.
A New Edition,
COMPLETE IN ONE VOLUME.
PRINTED VERBATIM FROM THE FIRST EDITION OF HIS WORKS,
TO THE FIRST EDITION OF THE WORK
SOON after the decease of Mr. Toplady, many persons, who loved his principles and revered his memory, expressed an earnest desire to have a complete edition of his works. Nothing of the kind was, however, attempted, until the year 1792, when the undertaking was finally determined upon. Materials were accordingly collected, and application was made to some gentlemen of literary character, whose principles coincided with the Author’s, to undertake the arrangement for publication. Their assistance was promised, but the conditions were afterwards found to be such as could not be assented to, without proving injurious to the work, and probably giving it the appearance of an imposition on the public. Apprehensive that the world would thus be deprived of a considerable part of the writings of a justly admired author, the proprietors determined to proceed in the undertaking, and the superintendence devolved on one whose abilities (in his own estimation) were disproportioned to the task. He is satisfied with having secured from oblivion so large a portion of valuable compositions, and throws himself upon the candour of the public, without any studied or affected apologies.
The peculiar object in the writings of Mr. Toplady was to bring vital Christianity to view, and to display its principles, defended with arguments drawn from the same source. His admirable pages are a masterly and consistent defence of the Divine Attributes, in unison with the writings of the Old and New Testament. For it will be self-evident, to those who will only consider, that the perennial opposition made to the doctrines of discriminating grace, in the absolute love of the everlasting Father, proceeding forth from Him in His beloved Son, and communicated to a peculiar people by the Holy Spirit, are the identical objections reiterated against the purposes of the Almighty, respecting the restriction of the volume of Revelation.
It must be perceivable that the very reception of the Scriptures, among any people, cannot be supported but on the principles of our Author. For the question has been asked, and often repeated, If the Divine records are acknowledged to be “A light to them who sit in darkness, and in the shadow of death,” and a directory “To guide their feet in the paths of peace,” how is it to be accounted for, that millions of the inhabitants of the globe are without its saving and salutary influence?! Taking a survey of human nature, what reason can be given that so many of our fellow creatures are worshipping the idols of their imagination with obscene and barbarous rites, and others sunk in the very dregs of brutal voluptuousness? Why are the Vedam, the Zend-Avesta, the Sadder, and the Alcoran, received and acknowledged with all their fanciful conjectures and chronological chimeras, and the deposit of sacred writ not so much as heard of in the midst of the rubbish of those absurdities? and where the vivifying beams of revelation are displayed, as they are in this country, and at this period of time, how is it that the intellectual darkness of the mind is not dissipated so as to perceive its radiance? Who upon earth can give a satisfactory reason for these facts, or develop to the human mind the various dispensations of God, in denying or withholding the light of revelation, without resolving it into the divine will, and ultimately taking up the words of Him who spake as never man did, “Even so, Father, for so it seemeth good in thy sight.”
These weighty investigations, which the importance of the subject brings under consideration, were some of the principal topics which employed the abilities of our Author. From those who are not influenced by a saving knowledge of the truth as it is in Jesus nothing is to be expected, in the perusal of these writings, but the most inveterate opposition, hasty censure, and unbridled license of declamation; while those who are taught from above cannot be brought to abandon a belief so full of enlivening consolations, and attested to their consciences by irrefragable documents; they will be induced to contemplate the inconceivable greatness, the inaccessible height, the unfathomable researches, and immeasurable extent of these heavenly excellencies, and exclaim, with the apostle Paul, “O the depth of the riches, both of the wisdom and the knowledge of God, how unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out!” While meditating on this preliminary state of things, the thoughts will expand with an earnest desire to that eventful period when a far nobler scene shall be opened, when this faint twilight shall be preceded with the blaze of an eternal day; and when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away.
THE Proprietors desire to acknowledge publicly, in terms of the warmest and most sincere gratitude, their obligations to the promoters of the work, and particularly to Mr. Hussey, for the many marks he has shown of his disinterested attention, as well as for his cheerful communication of the remaining manuscripts of his dear deceased friend.