« PreviousContinue »
ing in tkem ;"yea, growing exceedingly from faith to faith, by the power of him who loveth them. This is the subject ; and it properly belongs to those only who have obtained the true faith, given them of God, and wrought in their hearts by his word and Spirit. Such persons meet with marry difficulties every day to try their faith, and to hinder them from depending continually upon the Lord Christ for all things belonging to life and godliness. By what ineans these difficulties may be overcome, is plainly taught in scripture; is clearly promised ; and is attained by faith, which becomes daily more victorious, as it is enabled to trust, that he is faithful who promised. The strengthening of it I have had all along in view, hoping to be the means, under God, of leading the weak believer by the hand, and of removing hindrances out of his way, until the Lord thoroughly settle and establish him in the faith that is in Christ Jesus.
But I must admonish the reader, that I do not expect this merely from what I have
written. It is too high and great a work for any mere man. Faith is the gift of God. And he alone who gives it, can increase it. The author of the faith is also the finisher of it: and we do not use the means to set the Lord of all means aside. No: we use them that we may find him in them. It is his presence, which makes the use of them effectual. By this, and this only, can any reader of this little book be rendered stronger in faith.
Being well assured of this, I have therefore looked up to him myself; and it will be for thy profit also, reader, to look up to him in prayer, for his blessing. Entreat him of his grace to countenance this feeble attempt to promote his glory and his people's good. Beg of him to make thy reading of it the means of thy growth in faith, and to accompany it with the supply of his Holy Spirit to every believer into whose hands it may fall. And forget not in thy prayers and praises to remember the author.
Since the first printing of this book several spurious editions have been published
at London and Dublin, very full of faults and mistakes. For the sake of setting my own sentiments correctly before the public, 1 have given Mrs. Trapp leave to print from my own copy. I bless God who has enabled me to revise the press, and to put my last hand to the work, by making such additions and alterations, as seemed to me necessary, to render the subject more plain to common readers. In this, and in all things, I desire to approve myself to my Lord and Master, whose I am, and whom I serve ; and whatever good I have or do, to him be all the praise. Blessed be his Name this day, henceforth, and through the day of eternity.
April 24, 1793.
The persons for whose use this little tract is drawn up, are supposed to be practically acquainted with these following truths: they have been convinced of sin, and convinced of righteousness : the word of God has been made effectual, by the application of the Holy Spirit, to teach them the nature of the divine law, and, upon comparing their hearts and their lives with it, they have been brought in guilty ; they found themselves fallen creatures, and they felt the sad consequences of the fall, namely, total ignorance in the understanding of God and his ways; an open rebellion against him in the will, and an entire enmity in the heart; a life spent in the service of the world, the flesh, and the devil; and on all these accounts guilty be
fore God, and by nature children of wrath. When they were convinced of those truths in their judgments, and the awakened conscience sought for ease and deliverance, then they found they were helpless, and without strength. They could take no step, nor do any thing which could in the least save them from their sins. Whatever method they thought of, it failed them upon trial, and left: their conscience more uneasy than before. Did they purpose to repent; they found such a repentance as God would be pleased with, was the gift of Christ. He was exalted to be a Prince and a Saviour to give repentance. Suppose they thought of reforming their lives; yet what is to become of their old sins ? Will present obedience, if it could be perfectly paid, make any atonement for past disobedience? Will the broken law take part of our duty for the whole? No. It has determined, that whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all. And let him be ever so careful in doing what the law requires, or in avoiding what the law forbids ; let him