Mell, Predestination and the Saints' Perseverence: Preface.
The following tract appeared, first, in weekly numbers, in the columns of "The Christian Index", and is republished, with slight alteration and addition, at the request of many brethren. The controversial feature is retained, not because it is thought that Mr. Reneau's name will add any dignity to it, but because,
1. I have not time to re-write it.
2. If all allusion to Mr. R's publication were removed, it would lack congruity and completeness. It discusses Predestination and the Saint's Perseverance, because they are the doctrines assailed; and it is ostensibly confined to a consideration of Mr. Reneau's arguments.
3. Those who have requested its re-publication desire it to retain its original form. Mr. R's production, which it reviews, has been extensively distributed through parts of Georgia and Tennessee and has been lauded as a complete refutation of Calvinism. It is thought, therefore, that, in such localities, it is better calculated to do good in its present form. Besides, men are more likely to read an argument when it is associated with controversy than when it is presented in the form of abstract discussion.
I have been pained to notice, for some years past, on the part of some of our ministers, in some localities in the South, a disposition to waive the doctrines of Grace in their public ministrations. While some have been entirely silent about them and have even preached, though not ostensibly, doctrines not consistent with them, others have given them only a cold and half-hearted assent, and some few have openly derided and denounced them. This, in many cases, has resulted, doubtless from a lack of information and from an apprehension, therefore, that the doctrines of Grace are synonymous with Antinomianism. For this reason, I have thought that a concise and popular exposition of those doctrines was urgently demanded. It is true, there are many able treatises on them, extant; but, they are all locked up in voluminous Bodies of Divinity and, therefore, not accessible to the general reader. I confess, then, that it was to supply, to the extent of my ability, this demand and to counteract, as far as I was able, the tendencies to Arminianism, that I took up my pen. For this purpose, I was glad that the pretext of answering Mr. Reneau was afforded me; and, with this object in view, I extended the discussion on the subject of Predestination beyond Mr. R's objections. Should this publication have the effect to confirm my brethren in the faith once delivered to the Saints and serve, in any degree, to counteract the tendencies in our midst to Arminianism, I shall have accomplished my main design in writing.
Of course, it will be understood that the term, Calvinism, is used in conformity to custom and not to imply that the doctrines embraced in it originated with the Genevan Reformer.