Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

ADVERTISEMENT.

THE Reader will perceive by the date annexed to the Preface, that this work has been written several years. In fact, the author was in no haste to publish on a subject which, howeper important, requires some degree of prudence in the discussion. It has been his wish to exhibit what he believes, to the best of his judgment, to be the doctrines and practice taught by that pure and apostolical Church, of which he feels it his privilege to be a minister. In revising what he has written, though after a considerable period of time, he did not find that any alterations were necessary beyond mere verbal corrections.

Long-Newton Rectory,

Jan. 16, 1813.

PREFACE.

EVERY person, who is in the least de- . gree acquainted with the corruption of the human heart, will readily acknowledge, that his own unassisted abili. ties are totally unequal to the task of faithfully serving God. Repeated violations of the most solemn resolutions of amendment have shown him bis weakness; and his numerous lapses have wo. fully convinced him, that he stands in need of some diyine conductor to lead ney of life.

him in safety through the perilous jour

Such a guide is promised in Scripture to every sincere Christian.

We are not to suppose, that the ordinary operations of the Holy Spirit were confined to the apostolic age. Human nature is much alike, at all periods, and in all countries. Though Christianity is now established, and though miraculous interference is no longer necessary to the well-being of the Church ; yet the present race of men will never be essentially better than their heathen predecessors, so long as they rest satisfied with having only outwardly embraced the religion of the Messiah, A mere hypocritical and external profession of faith cannot be pleasing to that God, who regards motives no less than actions. A radical change

must take place in the heart, as well as an outward reformation in the manners; and this change can only be effected by the

agency of some superior power. The heart is as much averse now to the genuine practice of piety, as it was in the days of the Apostles; and, though we have no longer to combat the horrors of persecution, we have still to struggle with the unwillingness and corruption of the soul. If the whole of religion consisted in the bare belief of certain tenets and in the due observance of certain ceremonies, we should find very little difficulty in becoming thoroughly religious characters. But, when we are called upon to begin the work of self-reformation; when we are required to love God with all our heart, with all our soul, and with all our strength; when we are enjoined to pre

« AnteriorContinuar »