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THE LORD'S SUPPER:
DELIVERED JUST BEFORE THE ADMINISTRATION OF THAT
[FIRST PUBLISHED 1760.]
TO MRS. COOKE,
FOUR years ago the world was favoured, through your means, with a volume of Doctor Owen's sermons, which never before appeared in print; and it is at your instance that the following Sacramental Discourses of that same venerable divine are now made public. Hereby, madam, you at once express your high value and just esteem for the memory and works of that incomparable author, with your generous concern, and prevailing desire of being serviceable to the cause of Christ, a cause much more dear to you than all the worldly possessions with which the providence of God has blessed you.
With the greatest sincerity it may be said, your constant affection to the habitation of God's house, your steady adherence to the peculiar doctrines of Christianity, your kind regards to the faithful ministers of the gospel, your extensive benevolence to the indigent and the distressed, your affability to all you converse with, and in a word, your readiness to every good work, are so spread abroad, that, as the apostle says to the Thessalonians, 'There is no need to speak any thing.' That the Lord would prolong your valuable life, daily refresh your soul with the dew of his grace, and
enable you, when the hour of death approaches, to rejoice in the full prospect of eternal life through our Lord Jesus Christ, is the prayer,
Of your affectionate and obedient servant,
March 4, 1760.
THE preceding dedication is sufficient to acquaint the public, that these Sacramental Discourses are the genuine productions of that great man of God, Doctor John Owen, who was for some time in the last age vice-chancellor of Oxford. They enter the world through the same channel as his Thirteen Sermons on various Occasions, published four years since, viz. They were at first taken in short-hand from the Doctor's mouth, and by the late Sir John Hartopp, baronet, Mrs. Cook's pious grandfather, were transcribed into long-hand.
Mr. Matthew Henry has this note in his Annotations on 2 Kings ii. 'There are remains of great and good men, which, like Elijah's mantle, ought to be gathered up, and preserved by the survivors; their sayings, their writings, their examples; that as their works follow them in the reward of them, they may stay behind in the benefit of them.' Not that our faith is to stand in the wisdom of men; the Bible alone is the standard of truth; and there we are bid to go by the footsteps of the flock; and to keep the paths of the righteous. There is a strange itch in the minds of men after novelties; and it is too common a case, that they who are for striking out something new in divinity, are ready to pour contempt on the valuable writings of those who are gone before them; and even the most learned, peaceable, and pious men shall not escape their unrighteous censures. This is notorious in the conduct of those who embrace the new scheme.
If we inquire of the former age, we shall find there flourished in it some of the greatest and best of men,