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THE PREFACE TO THE EPISTLE TO THE ROMANS, THE COMMENTARY ON THE GALATIANS,
THE EPISTLE BY ST. PETER,
INTENDED TO GIVE, at one view, HIS DESCRIPTION OF THE EXPERIENCE OF A CHILD OF GOD, AND OF SOULJUSTIFYING AND DELIVERING FAITH.
FRIENDS OF THE PUBLICATION.
THE opportunity afforded by the present Number, is embraced by the TRANSLATOR to inform you, that in this part of the work which contains Selections from LUTHER on the Epistles to the Romans, to the Galatians, and of Peter, &c., he has, after due deliberation, considered it right, not to re-translate those portions which are taken from the Commentary on the Galatians, but to give you the same translation that has hitherto ever received the sanction of the Church. His design in so doing, was not to avoid trouble, (for it was as much labour to transcribe, and to modernize the orthography, &c. as it would have been to re-translate,) but he felt a check to adopting any measure, which should have the shadow of a tendency to supersede that translation of LUTHER on the Galatians, which has been so long established by the universal approbation of good men, and so signally owned and honoured of God to the edification and various deliverances of his people.
It will perhaps be asked, why he published Selections from the Commentary on the Galatians at all, when the whole work is so public, and may be so easily obtained?—He answers: Those who desire to read Luther for true profit, are those who are under a concern about their eternal state: and such, for the most part, cannot afford to give 12s. 6d. for that one whole work: which is, we believe, the common price of that invaluable production. Considering, therefore, the state and desires of such needy and seeking characters, he thought he might not render an unacceptable service, if he should select, according to his ability, such portions as he judged would meet their wants and suit their cases, and should comprise them within the space of two or three Numbers; and consequently, within the price of 4s. or 5s.; which space and price, the Selections from the
Galatians will not he trusts exceed, even with the addition of much invaluable matter of the same nature and purport, from the Commentaries on the Romans, Peter, Psalms, and other works of LUTHER.
He would also observe, that from the quantity of matter which has, by typographical arrangements, been compressed into a page, he hopes he shall be enabled to augment the work with two or three pieces of our great AUTHOR more than those enumerated in the Proposals; in the selection and disposal of which, he shall he hopes have in view the edification and best interests of his Friends.
Nor would he wholly lose this opportunity of acknowledging the encouragement with which his feeble endeavours have thus far been countenanced.-May the future reception of the work prove, that the undertaking was not altogether in vain! The motive which gave birth to it was, a will to render, "in quiet," and "without observation," a service to the Church of God in this "dark and cloudy day;" when the eyes of so few can "see their teachers," and when all are sighing under" a famine of hearing the word." And as He who has all supplies in himself, hath said, "When the poor and needy seek water and there is none, and their tongue faileth for thirst, I the Lord will hear them, I the God of Israel will not forsake them. I will open rivers in high places, and fountains in the midst of the vallies. I will make the wilderness a pool of water, and dry land springs of water;"-to see the present little work so blessed as to be made one of the very least of those "springs" or "fountains," in the present "wilderness" and "dry land," is, he trusts, all his desire.
July 1, 1823.
As this Epistle of Paul to the Romans contains alone the plan of the whole scripture, and is a most complete epitome of the New Testament, or Gospel; which Gospel it exhibits, of itself, in the most brief and most clear manner; I consider it ought, not only to be imbibed by all Christians from their youth, and to be thoroughly understood to a word; but, to be, by unceasing and anxious meditation, pondered and digested, and cast down, like well-digested food, into the "lower parts of the belly." For this epistle, is such a full treasury of spiritual riches, and as it were, such an overflowing cornucopiæ, that if you read it a thousand times over, there is always in it something new to be found, so that the last time of reading shall be ever the most profitable. Because, under the divine teaching, and under the growth in the knowledge of Christ, the nature of faith, (which is therein to be learnt and experienced in the workings of all its divine sensations with power,) carries you deeper and deeper into the subject; the faith grows as you proceed, and becomes, by its own increase, more strong, more sweet, more precious, and more enriched. I thought, therefore, I might render a profitable service, if I should spend upon it, (according to the measure of the gift which I have received of God,) a certain portion of labour; and, by this short preface, open a plain way for its being read and understood by my posterity, with more clearness, and with less offence. To which work I