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In the dispensations of his grace, as well a in the subjects of his grace, God acts like a fovereign: his dealings are various; he divides to every one feverally as he will; fo that it is impossible to set up one person's experience as á standard for anothet; yet I am persuaded that, wherever God has begun a work upon any heart, he will never leave it till he has brought judgment to victory in that sinner's conscience. I do not see in what respect the experience of God's children can in any sense be considered as hurtful to those who are most deeply exercifed in their souls, supposing it to be a real work of grace. The fcriptures every where abound with expressions of confidence; therefore these expreffions must be profitable, as being given for our instruction and adınonition, So far from being hurtful to a mind spiritually awakened to heat how God's children have been brought to the knowledge and enjoyment of Chrift, I am sure it must prové profitable; and, though they may not be able to take the comfort, yet it fecretly enlivens that little fpark that lies at the bottom under all their troubles. They are finners, they feel it; they
#te condemned, they feel it; they are miferable, they feel it; they hear that others have beert in the faine state, and have found defiterance: this, therefore, is some little encouragement to hope for deliverance in the Lord's time. Many are awakened to amendment, who are not awakened to inercy: these conceive nothing more in religion than merely becoming better, doing their duty, establishing a righteousness of their own : but 'tis otherwise when the Lord has put a cry of “ Mercy, mercy, mercy,"in the foul. Mercy is what that foul wants, and without a fenfe of mercy it never can be fatisfied.
Most of the hymns in this collection, I trust, will be found to point the finner to his only refuge; to Thew many of those spiritual conflicts with which the souls of God's chile dren are often exercised; and the life, walk, and joy of faith; Christ being the believer's life, his rule, and his crown of rejoicing.
I am very sensible that I differ materially in Many particulars from those who, nevertheless, profefs to hold the faine doctrines such as the divinity of the Lord Jesus Christ, particular
election, imputed righteousness; &c. As one reason for my publishing this collection was to thew what those truths are which lie neareft my heart, I shall point out two or three instances, wherein I differ from many who are highly esteemed, and generally received as preachers of the gospel.
I would not be understood as if the difference was only about words or phrases. The difference is material, if there is truth and reality in any thing; for it is upon that important question-What is truth? not, Whether this doctrine or that, this sentiment or that, this proposition or that, be right? but the question is, Whether there be such a thing as truth? what it is? whether it is to be known? and, if known, what influence or effect muft it have upon the mind? Our Lord says, “ They shall know the truth, and the 66 truth shall make thein free.” If we differ about this truth, this knowledge, and this freedom, the difference must be material. Be not deceived. Where the difference is fo material, if one is right, the other must be wrong. Examine for yourselves; call no man master; be
lieve not every spirit, but try the spirits. " Beware of false prophets,” fays our Lord, " who come to you in theep's clothing, but
inwardly they are ravening wolves.” There must be a falling away, and a departure from the truth, that the inan of sin may be revealed. The Lord's controversy must continue upon this earth as long as the two feeds--the feed of the woman and the serpent's seed--are found
upon it. Though the gospel in itself is a message of peace; and though, when believed and received, it brings peace to the finner's heart; yet, by reason of the enmity of the carnal mind, it is impossible to preach the gospel without giving offence : “ I am not y come,” says our Lord, “ to send peace on ** earth, but a sword." In those points which nearly concern the interest and happiness of your never-dying souls, be not biassed or inthuertced by names, or the authority of any man in the world. Let God be true, and every mani' a liar, till you find the truth iş in him; let every difference of opinion be tried by the unerring standard of God's most holy word. With this view I will
point out, in some few instances, wherein. I do materially differ from many who are considered as the popular preachers of this day.
To enter at large into the difference would be to write a volume, for which I have neither time nor ability. All I aim at is clearly to be understood. I am sensible it must be a divine power to enlighten the understanding, and awaken conscience; and in all my labours I. wish entirely to depend upon the Lord; and with him I must leave the event, who manifests his own power by the weakness of those instruments which he is pleased to make use of.
I am sensible that I do materially differ in my opinion from many of the popular preachers of the day, as it respects FAITH.
Faith is by some considered as a moral duty. required by the 'noral law. I consider it as the gift of God, and the fruit of the Spirit, i.e. the operation of God's Spirit upon the heart; whose office it is to take of the things of Jesus, and shew them to us; and likewise to give us a power to receive, apprehend, or lay hold of those things to our comfort and satisfaction. That the faine law which said to Adam, “ In