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T HE Author humbly conceives that the fol
lowing Discourses contain the most important and interesting truths of Christianity; and, as fuch, he earnestly recommends them to the peru. sal of every candid, and serious Chriftian.
There is, he confesses, nothing in their stile, and manner, that will delight the critic, or entertain the curious, yet he hath studied to please every Reader for bis good to edification. To speak the truth as it is in Jesus, and to set it forth in a plain and intelligible manner, so that he who readeth might understand, and have his soul profited thereby; is that which above all things is aimed at,
and intended by the publication of the Discourses: For what is a man propied ol ki jano unibe a bele world, and lofe bis oern fout!? But as (1) art commanded to try tbe miss u beber den be of Godi even lo likewise ex.moe and try and human wre. ungs by the Holy Scruscs.
The Author coníel, alio hac in some points he differs in judgment trom many c.nnear Cant. tians that have gone before b.m; or racher, he differs in the manner of his ex;laning tham: which may be particularly foco in ius Seminons on refinance Icu urds Guide the comuuam. 6, 320, and Gospel fanalifiaina. But thoukl any piction male it plainly and satisfactorily appear that he is mi. taken therein, and hæh nur spoken agreeable to the divine records ; he promiks, by the hip of God, not only to change bis of inwn, and ictract the error, but also to thank the inftrument that shall help him to understand the mind or word of God more perfectly. For my conscience bears me wirnefe, in the light of God, that I have trenght to m ke the truth manifest, and to ci. Bu hii, free trom all error: Neither have I or pre d any unc, but for the sake of of pofing error ; merhavel, on the other hand, tid the least regard iu anh d u er at andy whicves, that is not come 11:1, or jup. Jo tej by th: orxls et trukh. Tiron'the whole as mich in me is, I have fine.s11 ard fimp!, a10101!Ourent dru cuiby the hear:I exhat the thereture to unustilart, and an cumnase
PRE FACE. what thou readest with the Scriptures; for every word of God is pure. ;. . Mina
WITHOUT knowledge no man can rationally or acceptably serve the living and true God. For as the sun in the firmament cannot profit the blind, by shewing him the right way wherein to walk with safety, except his eyes be firft opened ; so CHRIST, the Sun of righteousness, gives the light of life to no man, until the eyes of his understand. ing are opened to receive it : And the reason why fo few feek after spiritual illumination in the knowledge of CHRIST, arises chiefly from a want of knowing their own blindness; for who but the blind will seek for some one to lead bim by the band?_ Wherefore is it that men are to notoriously alienated from the life of God? The Apostle answers, thro the ignorance that is in them, because of the infenfibi. lity, or hardness * of their bearts..
THERE is not so much wánt of Scripture light in our land, as of eyes to behold it. Every one who takes the Bible may, thereby be made wise unto falvation, if he had but eyes to see it, and a a heart to obey it ; but my people perish, saith GOD, for. lack of knowledge.-The common people count the Scripture a realed book, which none but the learned or clergy can read and understand : And frequently their leaders, instead of instructing them in the right way, confirm them in their natural blindness, or cause them to err.
But bare light, or knowledge only, without the love of the truth, is not saving; for the end of the commandment is Love. I have aimed therefore to thew the necessity of this grace also; for what doth it profit a man to have his eyes open, and the light of the world shining on him; if he wilfully shut his eyes against it, or fall into the ditch as those that have no eyes. Therefore to explain to thee the nature, and urge the necessity of the true knowledge and love of God which is in Christ Jesus, that it may possess thine heart, and influence thy daily walk and conversation; is the whole design of these Discourses, and the end for which they are sent into the world. If thy soul is profited thereby, give the praise not to man but to God only; for neither is be that planteth any thing, neither be that watereth, but God who giveth the increase: But if otherwise our labour shall not be in vain in the Lord...
What will it profit thee to have obtained and enjoyed all the honors and pleasures of this world, when God shall take away thy soul ? Or what grief of mind will it be to thee, O Christian! when thou art entered into Paradise, that thou haft suffered lofles and reproaches in this world for CHRIST'S fake, and for conscience towards God? Yea, what fatisfaction of foul will it not be to thee, that thou haft denied thyself, and taken up thy cross daily, when thou shalt enter into the joy of thy LORD? The wise ball inherit glory, but shame all be the promotion of fools. Commending thee, Christian Reader, to the word and grace of God, I am thy friend and fervant, for Jesus' sake. * R. E.