Toplady revised two sermons by Matthew Mead and appended his own introduction, the work being published in 1770. Toplady's introduction reads:
At the desire of a much esteemed friend (Captain Alexander Clunie, now, I trust, with God), I, several months ago, revised and contracted the two following Discourses for republication. They had been long out of print : and the worthy person, now referred to, was of opinion, that a new edition, pruned of the original superfluities; would be both acceptable and useful.
After a careful perusal, I could not but testify my approbation of his design; and, soon after, reduced these sermons to the form in which they now appear. He approved of the abridgment ,and also of the few occasional variations of phraseology, which were necessary to preserve the conn ection and consistency of a shortened work : but of which, however, it is proper for the readers of the present edition to be apprised.—Had not the supreme Disposer of life and death been pleased to visit my valuable friend with a subsequent illness, which ended, about three weeks ago, in his lamented dissolution; these Discourses had appeared much earlier : nor should I, myself, have had occasion to trespass on the public condescension, by a relation of the above particulars.
It has been no less frequently than mistakingly, objected to the Doctrines of Grace, in general; and to the Doctrine of Election, in particular; that they "tend " to supersede the necessity of personal " holiness, and to render men remiss in the " duties of practical godliness." — We might as reasonably charge the Sun in the firmament with being the cause of Frost and Darkness. Not the reception, but the unbelieving rejection, of those glorious doctrines, is the corroding worm that lies at the root both of virtue and happiness.
Strange as it may sound in the ear of an unawakened person, it is still a most cer tain truth, that, so long as we seek to hammer out a salvation for ourselves, on the miserable anvil of Free-will and legal Strivings, we act like one who has lost his way on a journey, and who the farther he advances, the more widely he wanders from the place to which he is bound.
Legality, or the hope of Justification by Works, whether in whole or in part, is far, very far, from promoting the interest of holiness, and from erecting a barrier against licentiousness; it rather acts as a remora on the keel, and as a contrary wind in the sails. Nor can fallen man ever know what it is to speed his way to the kingdom of heaven, and make large advances in Sanctification; till his progress is disembarrassed, by a full submission to the righteousness of God the Son, as the sole procuring cause of eternal blessedness. We then, and then only, run the way of his commandments, when converting grace has set our hearts at liberty from legal dependencies of our own. We then become thoroughly furnished, and ready to every good word and work, when the holy Spirit gives us the sense of interest in that ravishing declaration of God, Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love, therefore with loving-kindness have I drawn thee : drawn thee to a saving acquaintance with Myself, as thy friend and father in Christ ; drawn thee from the love of sin, to the love of holiness; and from the practice of evil to the pursuit of righteousness.—Nothing so effectually tends to wean the soul from every undivine attachment, as the knowledge that our names are written in heaven.
I have only to add, that what immediately follows was the Preface to the original edition published in the year 1707.
Westminster, April 10, 1770.