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from the gospel, was to this purpose: that on condition of man's stedfast faith, sincere repentance, and perfect obedi. ence, he should be restored thro’ Christ to God's favour ; and after death, to that life and happiness, which was promised to our first parents, without tasting of death. By this means God and man are brought together again; and man is redeemed from a state of fin and eternal
God is redeath, to a state of holiness, and to the inheritance conciled to of eternal life. And this was the end for which loll man. the Son of God cloathed himself with our fleth, that as man, he might suffer what our fins had de. In what
manner. served, and, as he was the Son of God, he might make a full, perfect and sufficient oblation and satisfaction to the divine juftice, for the sins of the whole world; who, for the joy of delivering so many millions of souls from misery, endured the death of the cross, and all the afflictions of his bitter pafsion, which was the perfect facrifice whereby all man. kind are restored to the favour of God, and put into a state of salvation; God having, for his Son's sake, promise an ed to pardon all such as shall repent, and forsake will not be their fins, and bring forth fruits meet for repent- in vain. ance ; and to give his Holy Spirit to all such as shall sincerely pray for the same; and after death to make them eternally happy, if during this short state of trial, which is designed to amend our corrupt and disordered nature, they endeavour to observe the rules, which he has revealed in his word, and which are absolutely necessary to make them capable of eternal happiness in the kingdom of heaven.
V.Toconclude with the sentiments of a devoutand pious di. vine;The great plea that men do generally make for the wickedness or carelesness of their lives is this, That it that it is in really is not in their power to liveup to such a state every man's of holiness and virtue, as the law of God obligeth power.com
take the nethem to: grace is in them too weak, and their na- cessary care tural corruptions too strong, for their ever being in of his soul. a capacity, without more assistance from God, to live strict and religious lives: conversion is the work of God, and cannot be wrought by a man's self, and therefore till God shall please to come upon them, with an irresistible power of his
Holy Spirit, they must be contented to live as they do; nay, they must unavoidably live so. Now it is readily granted, that without God's grace no man can do any thing; and we grant likewise, that it is very probable their circumstances may be such, that it is not morally possible, unless they had greater strength and more grace than they have, on a fudden to live as they ought to do; for, their bad principles are really more powerful than their good ones: but yet, in the mean time, we must needs tell them, that they are not mere stocks and stones. How much reason foever they have to complain of the infirmity or degeneracy of their natures yet some things they can do towards the bettering of them: for instance, though they cannot on a sudden conquer the inward bent and inclination of their minds, so as to hate all fin, and to delight in virtue, yet they must needs confefs that they have a power over their outward actions: they can as well (if they think it reasonable) direct their feet towards a church, as to a house of gaming, or drinking, or lewdness: their eyes will serve them as well to look upon a bible, or a serious discourfe about religion, as to read a scurrilous and a prophane book: it is as much in their power (if they please) to yield their ears to the reasonable advice of their lober friends, as to the mad harangues of the diffolute company they keep. These things they must needs acknowledge they can do, if they will: nay, and they can do more than this; for (if they please) they may give themselves time to consider and think of what they read, or what is faid to them, or what their own experience or observation of things will suggest to their minds; and they can further, if they please, add to their consideration their prayers to almighty God to direct them, to affift them, to strengthen them. It is certain, that all this without God's especial grace will not be effectual for their regeneration and conversion; yet, if they will but do as much as this comes to, we can assure them, that in time they shall have this especial grace that they now want. In the same proportion that they use and employ those gifts and powers, which they at present have, God will increafe and enlarge them. And the truth of all this is confirmed to us by that memorable saying of our Saviour, which we find in his mouth at several times, and
upon several occasions : to him that hath, to him shall be give en, and he shall have in abundance; but from him that hath not, shall be taken away even that which he hath.
whom nothing is strong, nothing is holy; raise up, I beseech thee, thy power, and with great might fuccour me, that, whereas through my fins and wickedness I ain sore lett and hindered in running the race that is set before me, thy bountiful grace and mercy may speedily help and deliver me, through the satisfaction of thy Son; and, that as by thy fpecial grace preventing me thou dost put into my mind good desires, so by thy continual help I may bring the same to good effet : wherefore I humbly pray thee to increase and multiply upon me thy mercy, that thou being my ruler and guide, I may lo pass thro’things temporal, that I finally lose not the things eternal: grant this, O heavenly Father, for the sake of thy Son Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Which for the sake of its being read over Three Times in a Year
is divided into XVII CHAPTERS or SUNDAYS.
The Contents of the PREFACE.
The Author himself bas acknowledged the Defects of that Book,
The Ridiculers of Christianity are Men who are not capable of
iv & v
mortal Body, page xiii. III. How the State of the Soul is deter-
Of bis c. Of bis Son of Chriz.