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cause things of time are of so little importance, and because such an administration of things is suited to a state of trial. There will be time enough hereafter for the righteous to be rewarded, and the wicked punished. In this view of things, we may, in a measure, understand the darkest, and account for the most mysterious, dispensations of divine providence, and discern the wisdom of the divine government.

It has doubtless appeared as a thing strange and dark to many pious persons, and occasioned not a little perplexity of mind, to observe what has come to pass in New-England since the year 1740.-That there should be so general an out-pouring of the spirit—so many hundreds and thousands awakened all over the country, and such an almost universal external reformation, and so many receive the word with joy; and yet, after all, things come to be as they now are: so many fallen away to carnal security, and so many turned enthusiasts and heretics, and the country so generally settled in their prejudices against experimental religion and the doctrines of the gospel, and a flood of Arminianism and immorality, ready to deluge the land: but, as strange and dark as it may have seemed, yet doubtless if any of us had lived with the Israelites in the wilderness, or in the three first ages after Christ, or in the time of the reformation from Popery, the dispensations of Divine Providence would, upon the whole, have appeared much more mysterious than they do now. And yet those were times when God was doing glorious things for his Church. And indeed, it has happened in our day, however strange it may seem to us, no otherwise than our Saviour foretold it commonly would under the gospel dispensation, at least till Satan is bound, that he may deceive the nations no more. The sower goes forth to sow, and some seed falls by the way-side, and some on stony, and some on thorny, and some on good ground; and while he is sowing good seed, an enemy in the night, the devil, unobserved, sows tares now, when the sun is up, i. e. when new times come on, and trials approach, the main of the seed is lost; not only what fell by the way-side, but also what fell on the stony and thorny ground. And when the good ground is about to bring forth fruit, the tares begin to appear too. Mat.



xiii. Thus it has always been.-This is a state of trial, and God has permitted so many sad and awful things to happen in times of reformation, with design to prove the children of men, and know what is in their hearts.

The young people almost all over New-England professed they would for ever renounce youthful vanities, and seek the Lord. "Well," God, in the course of his Providence, as it were, says, "I will try you. Seeming converts expressed great love to Christ, his truths, and ministers, and ways: "Well," says God, "I will try you." Multitudes, being enemies to all true religion, longed to see the whole reformation fall into disgrace, and things return to their own channel; and they sought for objections and stumbling-blocks : "Well," says God, "you may have them, and I will try and see how you will be affected, and what you will say, and whether you will be as glad when the cause of my SoN is betrayed by the miscarriages of those that profess to be his friends, as the Jews of old were, when my SoN himself was betrayed into their hands by Judas." Thus God means to try every one.

A compassionate sense of the exercises, which godly persons, especially among common people, might be under, in these evil days, while some are fallen away, and others are clapping their hands and rejoicing with all their hearts to see Zion laid waste; while Arminians are glossing their scheme, and appealing to reason and common sense, as though their principles were near or quite self-evident to all men of thought and candour; and while enthusiasts are going about as men inspired and immediately sent by the Almighty, pretending to extraordinary sanctity, and bold in it that they are so holy in themselves, and so entirely on the Lord's side, that all godly people must, and cannot but see as they do, and fall in with them, unless they are become blind, dead, and carnal; and gotten back into the world; a compassionate sense, I say, of the exercises of mind, which pious persons among common people might have, in such a trying situation of things, was the first motive which excited me to enter upon this work, which I now offer to the public: and to make divine truths plain to such, and to strip error naked before their

eyes, that they might be established, and comforted, and quickened in their way heavenward, was the end I had in view: and, accordingly, I have laboured very much to adapt myself to the lowest capacities, not meaning to write a book for the learned and polite, but for common people, and especially for those who are godly among them.

To these, therefore, that they may read what I have written with the greater profit, I will offer these two directions:

1. Labour after determinate ideas of God, and a sense of his infinite glory. This will spread a light over all the duties and doctrines of religion, and help you to understand the law and the gospel, and to pry into the mysteries, and discern the beauties, of the divine government. By much the greatest part of what I have written, besides showing what God is, consists in but so many propositions deduced from the divine perfections. Begin here, therefore, and learn what God is, and then what the moral law is; and this will help you to understand what our ruin is, and what the way of our recovery by free grace through JESUS CHRIST. The Bible is designed for rational creatures, and has God for its author; and you may therefore depend upon it, that it contains a scheme perfectly rational, divine, and glorious; and the pleasure of divine knowledge will a thousand times more than recompense all our reading, study, and pains: only content not yourselves with a general superficial knowledge, but enter thoroughly into things.

2. Practise, as well as read. The end of reading and knowledge is practice: and holy practice will help you to understand what you read. Love God with all your heart, and your neighbour as yourself; and you cannot but understand me, while, in the first Discourse, I show what is implied in these two great commands: and practice repentance towards God, and faith towards our Lord Jesus Christ; and the second Discourse, which treats of the nature of the gospel, and a genuine compliance therewith, will naturally be come plain and easy and while you daily study divine truths in your heads, and digest them well in your hearts, and prac tise them in your lives, your knowledge and holiness will increase, and God's word and providence be better understood,

your perplexing difficulties will be more solved, and you be established, strengthened and comforted, in your way heavenward; and your light shining before men, they will see your good works, and your Father which is in Heaven will be glorified-All which are the hearty desire and prayer of

Your Servant in JESUS CHRIST,

Bethlem, April 25, 1750.




MATTHEW Xxii, 37, 38, 39, 40.

Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.


TRUE religion consists in a conformity to the law of God, and in a compliance with the gospel of Christ. The religion of innocent man consisted only in a conformity to the law-the law of nature, with the addition of one positive precept: he had no need of gospel-grace. But when man lost his innocency, and became guilty and depraved; when he fell under the wrath of God and power of sin, he needed a Redeemer and a Sanctifier; and in the gospel, a Redeemer and a Sanctifier are provided, and a way for our obtaining pardoning mercy and sanctifying grace is opened: a compliance with which does now, therefore, become part of the religion of a fallen creature. Now, if we can but rightly understand the law, and rightly understand the gospel, we may easily see wherein a conformity to the one, and a compliance with the other, does consist; and so what true religion is.

For the present, let us take the law under consideration. And it will be proper to inquire into these following particulars: 1. What duty does God require of us in his law?—2. From what motives must that duty be done ?-3. What is that

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