Графични страници
PDF файл

46 I have no doubt but I could, were I to go about it with proper

“ helps, prove undeniably, that there is nothing material « preached by me, under the scandal of Methodistical, which

was not preached by those excellent persons, who, having o laid the foundation of our Church-establirement, gave their “ bodies to be burned, in confirmation of the truths they taught. “ The members of our National Church are, in general, « utterly ignorant of its standard doctrines; and ignorantly “ brand those as Enthusiasts and Methodists, who preach 6. zealously the very doctrines of our first Reformers.” Scott's Force of Truth, page 98.

~ So the poor of the flock that waited upon me, knew that it was

$6 the Word of the Lord." Zech, xi, II.

[ocr errors]


HEN a writer considers that something new will be expected in every addition to the

number of books already published, and is conscious that his own labours under this defect, he may wish to prefix an apology for engaging the public notice: And if novelty be proved effential to edification, the author of the following sheets is sensible no apology can atone for their deficiency in this view, and has the mortification to reflect, that he has employed his time and pen to no purpose. There is however something in every person's mode of thinking and writing, which may be new to some ; and as a late eminent Commentator observes, “

Every man has his *conuexions; and some are disposed to read with atten. tion what he writes, who have not the fame favourable disposition towards another, perhaps of fuperior excel-,

Thus moft books of a religious cast are read by fome, and no doubt some benefit obtained from all : And may, he not be allowed to hope, there are more than a few, who can relish a repetition of plain, practical truths, and dispense with a plain manner of communicating them; and that to apologize because he has aimed to do good in the way in which others have gone before him, would be reputed and pronounced impertinence and affectation?

The * Scott's Bible Pref.


a 2

The original design of part of what is written was to accommodate the younger branch of the author's flock with some useful catechetical instructions; which it was hoped, might occupy a kind of a middle place between Dr. Watts’ Catechism and the Assembly of Di. vines. But though he has been infenfibly lead to enlarge his plan, for the benefit of adults, he did not wish the case of the former to be entirely excluded. And he would flatter himse!f its present form, in some respects, may not be deemed unsuitable to either, and, with a bles. fing from above, may subserve the instruction and fanc. sification of both. The edification however of the weak, uninformed Christian, has been a particular object in view in publishing his thoughts; and thould they conduce, with the same blessing, to open the eyes

f" finners, and turn them from darkness 10 light, from Satan to God," his plan will be still more perfectly effected, and the earnest desire of his heart, if he mife take nor; be fulfilled.-To be able to add to the stock of merely fpeculative, fyftematic intelligence.in divinity, he apprehends is a poor acquisition, and thinks he has more than once seen it attended with the worst of consequences. It has therefore been his wifh, however he may have failed in the attempt, to communicate and increase knowledge with its proper influence : So to inform the judgment that the tenspers and conduct may be regulated by the word of Christ, that each may speak the language of obedience, and show the poffibility, necessity and beauty of evangelic holinets. Suck a living, active influence apart, the foundeft orthodoxy


appears to him infignificant and useless: may ferve perhaps to get a name with man, but is hardly likely to subserve the interest of the Kingdom of God. He has indeed sometimes thought the best digelted system may not unfitly be resembled to a keleton, which has every bone in its proper place, and exhibits the first rudiments of our structure to a speculative eye, but has lost the seat of life and action : may help to instruct us in the compages of our frame, but can afford us no affistance to exert it. He hopes however, that what he has written, will be found agreeable to found doctrine, in the efteen of those who value it for its effects, and are solicitous to secure its end. The subjects are indeed common, and to many may be hardly thought worth a perusal; but their richness is inexhaustible, and their glory inextinguishable: ad the method of communicating them, if judged unpopular by fome, may be felt by the ordinary, unlettered reader (for whose benefit it is chiefly designed) easy and intelligible : And if the way of salvation be contained therein, he has little fear, but with the approbation of the Lord, it will be obtained thereby; where the reader, like the Ethiopian Eunuch, has the anxiety of a Chriftian to be taught, and the fimplicity of a child to receive it. In a word, it was his desire to accommodate the poorer fort, especially those of his own charge, with a brief compendium of practical divine truths, with their na. tive tendency, to renew the heart and life for God, and make us holy, happy and useful, pointed out ;" and to apply the whole to the conseience with this,


a 3

view :-To Show what a Chriftian is, in the esteem of the Great God, as he has made known his mind and will, and what we may be, and must be, by the grace of his Holy Spirit, if ever we see; with joy, that Saviour the Bible reveals, or enter upon that rest it. promises. It is not imposed, however, upon the reader to exclude the use of others of a similar kind, which he may already possess, or may be able to obtain; but to co-operate with them in the same purpose, and to add strength, if possible, to their teftimony.

But, tho' the greater part of the doctrines he has produced thro' the whole, are, in general, supported by direct references to Scripture, and many of the leading ones will not admit of an ambiguous meaning, he is far from fupposing they will meet with a favourable reception from all who peruse them. On the contrary, he believes they will have the same effect on-some, and not a few, in awakening those symptoms of disgust and scorn which have usually attended them. This indeed is what the Scriptures have forewarned him of, what he has been an eye-witness to, in various inftances, and what may very naturally be expected, when we recollect their humiliating, degrading tenor and cast, and reflect that they have ever been chiefly acceptable and useful with the lower class of people. It is no more; in fact, than what has been, what will be, and what must be, wherever the love of this world is allowed to command the mind, and govern peoples religious fentiments, and the approbation of men of wealth and


« ПредишнаНапред »