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the present Work, the Public must judge ; that it has been attempted, the Author

may

be permitted to declare.

To soften the Asperities of Argument, Views of Nature are interspersed. That, if the former Jould carry the Appearance of a rude intangled Forest, or of a frowning gloomy Recess, there may be some agreeable Openings, and light some Avenues, to admit a Prospeet of the Country : which is always arrayed in Charms, and never fails to please.

The Author confesses a very peculiar Fondness for the amiable Scenes of Creation. It is therefore not at all improbable, but his Excursions on this Topic may be of the diffusive Kind, and his Descriptions somewhat luxuriant. It is hoped, however, that the benevolent Reader will indulge Him in this favourite Foible.--If any should feel the Jame prevailing Pasion for the Beauties of Nature, 'tis possible these Persons may be inclined, not only to excuse, but approve the Fault ; and take Part with the Lover, even in Opposition to the Critic.

Farther to diversify the Piece, Sketches of Philosophy are introduced. Easy to be understood, and calculated to entertain the Imagination, as well as to improve the Heart. More particularly, to display the wife and beneficent Design of Providence, in the various Appearances and numberless Productions of the material World. Neither are these Remarks altogether foreign to the main Point. But, as far as the Wonders of Creation may comport with the Riches of Grace, subserve the general End.

well tasted

As to the choice of my SubjectsSome People have desired to see an Invective, against the fashionable and predominant Vices of the Age. This, I apprehend, would be like picking of the Leaves, or clipping away the Twigs, of some overgrown and noxious Tree. Waving this tedious and ineffe&tual Toil, I would rather lay my Axe to the Root. Let the Knowledge and Love of CHRIST take place in the Heart, and not only a few of the Branches, but the whole Body of Sin will fall

at once.

Some would have the Author infft upon the conscientious Observation of the Sabbath, inculcate the daily Worship of GOD in the Family, and urge a devout Attendance on the public Ordinances of Religion. But when a Person is convinced of Sin, and made sensible of Misery; when he has tasted the good Word of GOD*, and seen by Faith the LORD's CHRIST+; He will want no Solicitation or Incitement, to these Means of Grace, and Exercises of Godliness. He will have just the same Disposition to them all, as the hungry Appetite has to wholsome Food, or the new-born Babe I to the Milk of the Breast.

Others may imagine, that I have neglected the Interests of Morality; because, here is no professed Attempt to delineate its Duties, or inforce its Practice.Let these Persons remember, that Morality never makes such vigorous Shoots, never produces such generous Fruit, as when ingrafted on evangelical Principles.— And if I do not crop the Pink, the Rose, and the Carnation ; if I do not gather the Peach, the Nečtarine, and the Pine-Apple ; and put them into my Reader's Hand, for his immediate

Enjoy* Heb. vi. 5.

+ Luke ii. 26. I 1 Pet. ii. 2. This Comparison is, perhaps, the most exact and expressive, that Words can form, or Fancy conceive. Babes covet nothing but the Milk of the Breast. They are indifferent about all other Things. Give them Riches, give them Honours, give them whatever you please, without this rich, delicious, balmy Nutriment, they will not, they cannot be satisfied. - How finely does this illustrate, and how forcibly inculcate, what our LORD styles, The single Eye, and The One Thing needful! Or, the falutary Doctrines, and delightful Privileges of the Gospel"; together with that Supreme Value for them, and undivided Complacency in them, which are the distinguishing Character of the Chriflian!

ܐܐ

Enjoyment : I am endeavouring to fow the Seeds, and plant the Roots in his Garden ; which, if cherished by the favourable Influence of Heaven, will yield Him, not an occasional, but a constant Supply of all.

As several Texts of Scripture come under Consideration, Criticisms upon the Original are frequently subjoined. In order to clear up some Difficulties, to re&tify some Mistranslations, or point out the

many delicate and masterly Strokes, which occur in the BIBLE.- And glad Mould I be, extremely glad, if I might recommend and endear that invaluable Book. If, as the divine REDEEMER rideth on in the Word of Truth, of Meekness, and Righteousness *, this Hand might scatter a Palm Branch, or this Performance might lie as a Flowret, to strew his Way to and solemnize bis Triumph.

In the Course of the Disputation, I dare not fuppose, that I have discussed all the Arguments, which Sagacity may devise, or Sophiftry urge. Perhaps, I have not removed all the Scruples, which тау awaken Prejudice, or embarrass Integrity. This, however, I may venture to affirm, that I myself bave met with no considerable Objc&tion, which is

* Psal. xlv. + Alluding to Matt. xxi. 8. VOL. I.

4.

a

not

not either exprefly answered, or virtually refuted, in these Conferences.- And, though I should neither Satisfy nor filence the Gainsayer, I shall think my Endeavours happily employed, if they may. throzy Light upon the dim Apprehenfion ; establish the wavering Faith ; or comfort the afflicted Consci

ence.

If any should burlesque or ridicule these venerable Truths, and exalted Privileges, I mall only say with ту

Divine MASTER; O! that Thou hadst known, in this thy Day, the Things that belong to thy Peace! But now they are hid, it is evident from such a Procedure, they are hid from thine Eyes *

-Should

any;

in the Spirit of Decency and Candor, either start new, or revive old Objections, I doubt not, but they will receive both a due Examination and a proper Reply. As these Doctrines enter into the very Essence of the Gospel, and constitute the Glory of our Religion, they can never want a Succession of Advocates, so long (3 the Sun and Moon endure. For Part, I must beg Leave to retire from the Lists, and lay down the Weapois of Controversy. Virgil's Largucge is my Resolution ; Discedam, explebo Numerum, reddarque

а

Tenebris.

!

my own

* Lule xix. 42.

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