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words of a moft worthy member of the Church of England, well known in the learned world, as I have lately had the honour of receiving them from his own pen. I conceal his name, and therefore hope it is no violation of the laws of friendship, to infert at large a passage from a familiar letter, which, if it warms my reader's breast as it did mine, will be not only an entertainmant, but a blessing to many, and which is as suitable a conclusion of this preface, as if it had been written in that view. “ I am glad,” says he, “ that Christianity begins to be fo well un“ derstood and taught by so many men of parts and
learning in all sects, the fruits of which appear in “ a candour and charity unknown to all ages of the “ church, except the primitive, I had almost said the
Apoftolic age. Does not this give you a prospect, “ though perhaps still very diftant, of the completion “ of the famous prophecy that speaks of the lion and “ the lamb lying down together in the kingdom of the “ Messiah? Lions there have been hitherto in all “ churches, but too many fierce, greedy, and blood
thirsty lions, though often disguised like lambs : " And fome lambs there have been, simple enough “ to think it expedient for the flock, to assume the “ habit and terror of lions : But I hope they now “ begin to undeceive themselves, and to consider “ Christianity as intending to bring back the world “ to that state of innocence which it enjoyed before
the fall, when, in one and the same Paradise, (to s ufe the words of Milton),
“ To attain to this happy state," continues this amiable writer, “ all Christians should unite their en
“ deavours, and instead of looking out for, and in“ fifting upon, points of difference and distinction, “ seek for those only in which they do or may agree.
They may at least fow the seeds of peace and uni
ty, though they should not live to reap the fruits “ of it in this world. Blessed are the peace-makers,
says the Prince of Peace, for they mall be called “ the children of God :- An appellation infinitely “ more honourable than that of paftor, bishop, arch
bishop, patriarch, cardinal or pope, and attended " with a recompense infinitely surpassing the richest “ revenues of the highest ecclefiaftical dignity.” I join my hearty wishes and prayers with those of my much esteemed friend, that we may all more and more deserve this character, and may attain to its reward.
Peter an Apostle of Jesus Christ, to the strangers scat
tered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia.
of God in the heart of man, is a tender plant in a strange unkindly soil; and therefore cannot well prosper and grow, without much care and pains, and that of a skilful hand, and that hath the art of cherishing it: For this end, hath God given the constant ministry of the word to his Church, not owy for the first work of conversion, but also for confirming and increafing of his grace in the hearts of his children.
And though the extraordinary ministers of the gospel, the Apostles, had principally the former for their charge, the converting of unbelievers, Jews and Gentiles, and so the planting of churches, to be after kept, and watered by others, as the Apostle intimates, 1 Cor. iii. 6. yet did they not neglect the other work of strengthening the grace of God begun in the new converts of those times, both by revisiting them, and VOL. I.
exhorting them in person, as they could, and by the supply of their writing to them when absent.
And the benefit of this extends (not by accident, but by the purpose and good providence of God) to the Church of God in all succeeding ages.
This excellent Epistle (full of evangelical doctrine and apoftolical authority) is a brief, and yet very clear, summary, both of the confolations and instructions needful for the encouragement and direction of a Christian in his journey to Heaven, elevating his thoughts and desires to that happiness, and strengthening him against all opposition in the way, both that of corruption within, and temptations and afflictions from without.
The heads of doctrine contained in it are many, but the main that are most insisted on are these three, faith, obedience and patience, to establish them in believing, to direct them in doing, and comfort them in suffering. And because the first is the groundwork and support of the other two, this first chapter is much on that, persuading them of the truth of that mystery they had received and did believe, viz. their redemption and salvation by Christ Jesus ; that inheritance of immortality bought by his blood for them, and the evidence and stability of their right and title to it.
And then he uses this belief, this assurance of the glory to come, as the great persuasive to the other two, both to holy obedience and to constant patience, since nothing can be too much, either to forego, or undergo, either to do, or to suffer, for the attainment of that blessed state.
And as from the consideration of that object, and matter of the hope of believers, he encourages to patience, and exhorteth to holiness in this chapter in general ; so in the following chapters, he expresses more particularly, both the universal and special duties of Christians, both in doing and suffering, often setting before them to whom he wrote, the matchless