« السابقةمتابعة »
Moft of thofe truths of experimental and practical Christianity, (the only Chriftianity that will afford any one comfort at a dying hour,) to which I have believed myself to be called of God to bear Teftimony, and which, in conjunction with my Brethren, I have been labouring, for upwards of thirty years, to propagate in moft parts of Great Britain, are here explained and enforced according to the beft ability God hath given me. The end I have had in view, in writing and publishing thefe Sermons, is the fame that I have pursued thro' the whole courfe of my Miniftry, and that is fimply and only to glorify God in the Reformation and Salvation of my fellow-creatures. have therefore not ftudied elegance of ftyle, or the oratorical ornaments of fpeech, becaufe, if I could have attained to this excellency, and have fpared the time which this kind of compofition would have coft me, I had no reafon to fuppofe that it would either have recommended these Sermons to fuch, as it was probable, would peruse them, or have given the truths contained in them a greater influence on their minds. But I have endeavoured to write, exactly as I always wish to preach, in a plain, clear, and intelligible manner; and with fuch a proper arrangement of the matter, and fuch a connexion of the parts of each difcourfe, as feemed beft calculated to affift the conceptions and memories of my Readers. I have ftudied alfo to write with fome degree of force and energy, especially in the applicatory part of each
Sermon. How far I have fucceeded, muft be left to the public to judge. I am, however, not without hope, that as I am confcious I have written, as I trust I generally speak, from the heart, fo that fome part at least of these plain and unadorned Difcourfes will reach the hearts of thofe Readers, that receive the Truth as it is in Jesus, with attentive and unprejudiced minds, and in a fpirit of prayer.
This laft obfervation is of vaft importance. For, if as St. Paul declares, "The natural man difcerneth not the things of God, nor can he know them, because they are spiritually difcerned;"-if, "The things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God," it is not to be fuppofed that these truths of fpiritual and experimental religion, which are here declared, will be either difcerned or relished, by those who do not fincerely and fervently pray for "the Spirit of wifdom and revelation," any more than by thofe who do not endeavour to diveft their minds of prejudice, and to confider seriously what is advanced. This therefore, I cannot but most earnestly recommend to all my Readers.
I must also advife them rather to read thefe Difcourfes, in the order in which they are here placed, than in any other. For, altho' they were neither written, nor first published in this order, yet I believe they will be read with most advantage according to it; as cach preceding Sermon will thus, in general, prepare the mind to underftand
ftand and relish the following, and each following Sermon will illuftrate and confirm the preceding.
I had intended to include in this Volume, all the Sermons I have published, but found that this would fwell the fize of the book too much. I have therefore omitted fuch as have appeared in our Magazine, or have been published in fingle Sermons, within the laft fix or eight years; intending, if it please God to preserve my life and health a little longer, to prepare for the Prefs a fecond Volume; which, if the Conference judge proper, may hereafter be prefented to our Societies, and the public at large. But this defign is yet but in embryo. And I know not what a few years, or even days may bring forth. Altho', I thank God, my health and strength are yet as firm as ever for labouring in the Lord's Vineyard, yet I know the fhades of the evening are coming fast upon me, and I too am following those of my Fathers and Brethren that have gone before me to "the house appointed for all living. May I be enabled to do honour to my profeffion in this laft ftage of my Chriftian course, as they in general have done in theirs; and may I experience thofe fupports and confolations in my laft moments, which they were favoured with, in their dying chambers, and may I find my everlasting lot with thefe Saints and Servants of the MOST HIGH!
New-Chapel, City-Road, London,
The future Mifery of the Wicked.