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· Q. IVho is to send up Publick Prayers ?
A. The Minister, and all the Congregation joining with him. And these prayers, though they must needs be more general, yet, withal, are more effectual than any other: Mat. xviii. 19. Again 1 say unto you, that if two of you shall agree on earth as touching any thing that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of my Father which is in Heaven.
Q. Who is to make Private or Family Prayers ? in . A. Every Master and Governor of a Family: and this he is not to do seldomer, than every morning and evening. In the morning, prayer is the key, that opens the treasury of God's mercies : in the evening, it is the key, that shuts us up under his protection and safeguard.
The following book has so much of substantial worth, together with so many true beauties, as not to need recommendation. The design, therefore, of this Address to thee, Good Reader, is partly to assure thee the work is genuine, partly to give thee some light into the general nature of it, or what thou art here to expect.
It was my happiness, many years ago, to contract a very intimate acquaintance, I might call it friendship, with that great person the Author; while we lived neighbours in that flourishing, religious, and liberal city *, where these Discourses had their birth, and became first vocally public. And, I doubt not, but that the memories of many of the citizens there are a sufficient record, by the consulting of which, any, who should scruple my testimony, as less competent, may receive plenary satisfaction. I, being constantly employed myself at the hours when this Exposition was delivered, could not be an auditor of it: but, as I then understood what subject my friend was treating on; so now reading the tract, I cannot but acknowledge the true spirit and style of the author.
All, I thịnk, that can be doubted, is, whether he designed this work for the press, and put thereto his last hand.
As to the Former Point, I am apt to think, when he first undertook the argument, he designed nothing more public, than are our usual Sermons. But, having finished what he proposed, his labours were judged so exceeding useful, and had besides so highly pleased his audience, that he was restlessly importuned to make them more public. And though, thorough excess of modesty, he would not consent thereto, for that time; yet he transcribed them himself, (for no one else could, he having
264 written them at first in a peculiar short-hand) and, having transcribed them, left them as a Depositum in the hands of one of his parishioners, with whom he had some time sojourned, (a person of integrity, and well known to me, though now deceased) to be disposed of after his death.
From such his transcribing and entrusting them ; as well as from some particular indications, apparent in them, and very convincing to me who was well acquainted with his way of writing his Sermon-Notes; and, especially, from the addition of divers Marginal Notes, which I am sure were put there, both by himself, and after his first transcribing pains, I conclude, as to the Latter Point of doubt, he had put the last hand he intended to put to them. · For what further justice remains to be done to the Work, be. ing I may seem hitherto to have done justice only to the Author, it consisting, in truth, of Sermons, (though, as all his were, very elaborate ones) such truths and duties are chiefly to be looked for in it, which are of most general Christian concernment: that is, he has said here, not all that might be said, had a critical and just comment been designed; but what his auditors (and the greatest part of our people still) had, and have most need to hear: which I take to be a very considerable excellency of the book; and wherein he has shewed singular judgment.
I see nothing farther now needful to add, but to pray, that the book may be public enough : I mean, read by as many, as the copies will suffice, till they are worn out; and practised by all who read it. Then, I am sure, both the Author's and Readers' pains will be very happily placed.
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