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in some incident questions, not uncurious, there is füficient evidence of his penetration, and what may be very agreeable and taking to them who set up for something above what is vulgar.
There is nothing in it mean, cr unworthy of a grave, judi. cious, and learned author : if any thing look that way, it is where the necessity of the matter, and capacity of those he dealt with, required it, hecoming all things to all men; particularly when dealing with children, it was fit to do it as near their own terms as possible: for to suit matter to the designs, we have, and to the conditions of those wc deal with, is no argument of the want, but of the strength of judgment.
He was excellently fitted and enriched with talents, for every posi Providence called him to, having filled and adorned the Doctor's chair, as Professor of Divinity, as well as the pulpit, while pafior to a Christian flock.
But though there had been lefs to say for the author, the contents of the book deserve a fair hearing, and a serious peru fal; why? it is the GREAT CONCERN, it is not a trifie, it is not an amusement : no, it is of the last consequence to us to know these things. Many live unconcerned, and love to do so; it may be, the very title shull be with such an argument against reading ; there is little hope of fixing such so long as to read the book, or so deep as to do it serie culy, and with due concern: and no wonder, when those so indifferent about the great concerns of eternity, and their precious souls, suffer the scripture-oracles to lie by them, without due, frequent, and serious inquiry into them.
Here is presented to the view of Christians, and those who qvould indeed be such, what, by the blesing of God, may be very entertaining, edifying, and useful.
The first fruits of his labours, in the formon next after his ordination, printed as an introduction to the book, Mews how much his work was at heart, and under what concern he was, to prepare the people for entertaining and improve ing his ministry and message, and to approve himself to God, in the discharge and delivery thereof.
In the First Part; the fate of nature is represented as a state of sin, misery, and wrath, in the most pungent, affett. ing, and convincing terms imaginable; where the guilty finner is clofely pursued into all the turns and pages of
Tife, and conditted of fin: in each and all of them, sin is represented as odious and abominable, as exceeding sinful.
It is laid open in such ĝlaffes, and with such aggravations, as it is hard to avoid the convictions of it, but where natural hardness is increased, by the malignant influence of Satan, whose great design and Arength lies in keeping all in peace. 5. The divine resentments against fin, wrath and judgment, 2lpon sinners, are likewise set forth in such a manner, as cannot easily miss to raise terror in the consciences of the guilty: present wrath in the direful effects of it, wrath to come in the extent and extremity of it, ara held forth in frecho a lively manner, as must raise the gratitude of those happily delivered from it, and bids very fair to alarm and 'awaken thofe yet under it, to efcape and free for their
Then, upon fupposition of conviction of fin and guilt, in the Second Part, the exercises of the convinced sinner are opened up most distinctly and judiciousy, in their nature, rise, workings, and degrees, and in such a feeling manner as may easily persuade one, that he has, in this matter, copied over his own experience : and it is some degree of fatisfaâion to one in this condition, to have one going before them, and to think that their guide has trodden the same path.
Jith what tenderness and compassion doth he touch the cases of the distressed! while yet, with faithfulness and free.
he opens up the mistakes and deceits, both in the work. ings and issue of conviétions, approving himself an interpreter, one among a thousand. Those who by the Spirit are convinced of fin, will know how to put a value upon a piece so suitable to their case ; and those awakened and con 'vinced are led, by a skilful hand, to the centre of reft for "wearied souls, by the way of faith, and believing in the Lord Jesus Christ, which gives occasion for opening up the mystery of faith, in its nature, aits, and properties, concommitants, and confequences, which will be found very useful for in. forming the lefs knowing, confirming the weak, and comfort. ing the strong believer.
And what can be of greater importance for us to know than the only way of escaping wrath to come, and being delivered from the curse and condemnation of the law, of being united to Chrift, and being found in him, upon whick
he becomes our righteousness and strength, whereby we are entitled to the great falvation?
Of which salvation the authar treats as the great èn. couragement of believing ; and this is the one thing necessary; for, What is a man profited, if he gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? This salvation is set forth in fcrip: ture-light, accounted for in its parts and properties, at a good length: and as this is of the last consequence to all, fo it must be the delight of those that have it at heart..
I thou art convinced and awakened, and brought to a concern about salvation, is brought to the jailor's cafe, thou wilt become the help here offered, and readily attend to the answer of the aposile to his question : for whar can be more proßer und pertinent to the case of such, than the true way to escape the misery of a natural state, and attain the felicity of a gracious one? Thefe, as they will not spare, so they will not repent, the pains of reading these Sheets.
Such as are by grace engaged to believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, and are a people faded of the Lord, will have it af heart, what to do for God; they will set themselves, in the Prength of grace, to all the duties of religion, whereby God may be glorified, and their faith justified, and their be. gun salvation promoted: all which good designs are answered in the Third Part of the book,
And this gives an account of personal religion, of the fer, vice of God, how we must enter into it, and persevere in it ; and what more useful piece of knowledge is there, than hour we may do Service to, and keep up our communion with God? Hero ozbr first transactions and after walk are pointedly and piously directed.
Here also family-religion is opened in its parts, the founda. tiens of it fixed, and the practice of it enforced with powe erful arguments, and suitable directions for people's walking in their house, and the proper duties of the serveral relatives in a family; which, if duly observed, would turn houses into churchesi and this is very neceffary, when family-devation is declining, and like to wear out,
A public religion comes also under confideration, it this Pari, ar a public spirit; whence the thing is recommended, and yet cautioned with great wifdam and judgment, 12 prevent people's going out of their sphere, and beyond their line.
The order, fubordination, and mutual dependencies and relations of personal, domeftic, and public religion, are nicely stated, and judiciously discovered, and proper caveats entered against beginning at the wrong end, as feldom missing to era either in apostacy or division : which cannot be but very useful in the present jun&ture, when divisions so much abound, and dividing inclinations are so much aloft.
In a word, there is no part of the book but what is of high importance and great usefulness; which, joined with the established character and reputation of the author, intitles it to a kind reception, and due perusal.
As these were the main prompters of the publishing the book, So they may be reckoned suficient arguments for a careful reading and improvement of it, now when published.
It comes out with very little alteration, even as to words, as they stood in the manuscript, partly because it did not much need it, and partly out of veneration for the author, whose pulpit Akill and fyle ras lo generally acceptable ; yet it is not to be Supposed, but if it had received a finishing Aroke from his own band, for the press, it might have appeared more beautiful; though even under this want, it will be found, that neither method nor style is disagreeable, though popular, and just as prepared and delivered to his people.
May all that have encouraged the design of publishing the book, meet with the double reward of edification to their own fouls, and seeing it do much good to others. We live in a time when all helps and advantages need to be improved, for awakening secure finners, and bringing them under
soul-uptaking inquiries about salvation, and stirring up Christians to the univerfal practice of piety and godliness. And as the book bas a plain tendency to these ends, go on and read it, and digest and apply it, begging that God may effectually bless and prosper it to those good ends for which it is designed,