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TO THE READER.
I thought good to give thee notice, that these Sermons were taken from the author's mouth when he preached them. A word spoken is soon forgotten, but what is written remains, and may do you, your children, and children's children good ; and this is the intent and desire of the author. When you view this mite of his, you may see something of Christ in it; let it be your care to see what you can find of Christ in yourselves : “ Know ye not that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates ?” This work adviseth you, not to rest upon notions, for then you do no other than feed your precious souls with fancies, which is as unfitting, and more dangerous food for your souls, than the husks were for the prodigal’s body: it is a real Christ, not a notional Christ, must satisfy your souls. We all know there is store of gold in the Indies, but we are never the richer for unless we have it in possession ; neither is it our hearing of Christ, nor our knowing there is a Christ, but our having of Christ in possession that benefits our souls. Hast thou a proud heart ? read this book, and it will teach thee humility. Hast thou a despairing heart ? read this book, and it will teach thee to believe. Hast thou a legal beart ? read this book, it will teach thee to be evangelical. Hast thou a secure heart ? read this book, it will teach thee to be watchful. Hast thou a froward heart ? read this book, it will teach thee to be meek. If thou wouldst come to Christ with a budget of duties upon thy shoulders, old Adam's proud principle, then thou must not look here, for he labours to empty thee of thy own righteousness, and send thee naked to Jesus Christ, who came “ not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance." If thou lookest for quaint speculations, and eloquent expressions of human wisdom, which administer as little comfort to the pastor as edification to the people; in truth here is nothing to please fantastical ears with whimsies, it was neither spoken nor written for any such intent: the words were spoken for edification, and were, by the desire of friends, written for the same intent. If, then, thou lovest plain dealing, and to benefit thy soul, read, and this book will teach thee to leave the success to God: when Paul hath planted, and Apollos hath watered, it is God must give the increase. Art thou a sinner ? here is mercy for thee, here is Christ for thee. Art thou a drunkard ? here is water of life for thee, which if thou drinkest thou shalt never thirst again. Art thou covetous ? here is riches for thee, spiritual riches, durable riches that will not fade. Art thou profane ? read this, and it will teach thee to be holy. Art thou a saint? here is comfort for thee, even the Holy Spirit, the Comforter. Art thou in darkness ? here is light for thee, “ Jesus Christ the true light, that lightens every one that comes into the world:” he shall be ten times more constant to thy soul than the sun in the firmament. Art thou weak in parts: weak in faith? weak in grace? read this book, and if the Lord be pleased to speak to thy soul, here strength for thee, even the mighty God. Art thou poor? here is Christ, and “ the earth is his and the fulness thereof:' it is laid up in his hand for thee, it is the purchase of his blood, he hath bought it for thee, it is thy own, and 'he doth but keep it for thee, thou mayest go boldly to him for it ; though thou art loth to borrow, and ashamed to
beg, yet thou mayest go boldly for thy own. This book, courteous reader, will teach thee to depend on God, to wait on Christ for all. He feeds the young ravens, be tends the sparrows, he clothes the lillies, therefore be sure he will not let his children want, whatsoever storms be without. Keep Christ, and thou shalt have peace, yea, the Prince of Peace within ; then thou shalt have peace when all the world is in trouble, then thou shalt be kept safe in the hour of temptation, which shall come to try all those that live upon the face of the earth. Prepare a place for the Lord Jesus Christ in thy heart, and he will provide a mansion for thee in his Father's house, where thou shalt sin no more, ard sorrow no more, but God shall wipe away all tears from thy eyes. Always remember, thou hast here no abiding place, but seekest one to come. This, courteous rea. der, is the course and aim of the author in this treatise for thy benefit, he his spirits that thou mayest be happy, that thou mayest grow up from strength to strength, until thou comest to be a perfect man in Jesus Christ; and this, also, is the earnest desire and prayer of him to Almighty God, for thee, who is, and shall always remain, thine to love and serve in the gospel,
“ Nevertheless I live, yet not I, but Christ liveth in me.”
GAL. II. 20. In this epistle, the apostle Paul does industriously prove, that a man is justified by faith in Christ alone, and not by the works of the law. Which he plainly affirms at the 16th verse, “ Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ; even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified.” But if a man be not justified by the works of the law, then a man may live as he lists, may cease from working. Not so, says the apostle, for so "we ourselves should be found sinners, and Christ would be made the minister of sin, which God forbid,” verse 17. “ Yea, and I should build again the things which I have destroyed, and make myself a transgressor," verse 18. “But I through the law, am dead unto the law, that I might live unto God,” verse the 19th.
But if a man be justified by faith alone, and so by the death of Christ, then a man is crucified with Christ; and if a man be crucified, or if you be crucified with Christ, how then do you live? Yes, says he at the 20th verse, “ I am crucified with Christ; nevertheless I live, yet not I, but Christ liveth in me.”
“ Nevertheless," or, now I live; “ I live,” that is, a spiritual life. There is a natural life, and there is a spiritual life. He does not here speak of the natural life, when he says, “ Nevertheless I live;" because he adds, “ yet not I, but Christ liveth in me;" that is, spiritually. And when he says, “ I live,” he speaks it in the person of every believer; not in his own person, but he personates a believer all along.