« AnteriorContinuar »
too mean and' of too little moment to trouble the world with. I reply, there's little of this to be found in what he wrote himself for the view of others ; but our friends after our decease are ready, from an access of affection, to how many of our lesser affairs to the public, fondly imagining they will be acceptable to the world, because their own delightful memory of their friend makes it relish so well to themselves. After all, I cannot say but a judicious abstract of this book would render it more useful to the reader, and more secure from every exception.
May the blessed spirit, who formed the soul of this author to the divine model of his gospel, form the heart of every reader by the same perfect rule, and raise them to equal or to higher degrees of faith and holiness; that they may be living witnesfes and hon. ours to the name of Chrift; and let thema join with me to adore my God and Saviour, who, though he hath secluded me from service in his house, by long fickness, yet he honours me to stand as a figure on his high-way, to direct travellers in the road; and while he restrains my tongue from its delightful work, he is pleased to use me as a silent finger to point to the footsteps of a faithful shepherd, and by them to guide the flock in their way to heaven.
Theobalds in Harifort. ?
Shire May 1, 1718.5
fignata F all biography,the lives of eminent saints
o a re, beyond all controversie, the most Gee edifying and useful, being, in fome meas slää 'l sure, a transumpt of ihe holiness of God and of his word. Their laudible and amiable example carries in it such a fueret and powerful efficacy to make impressions on fellow.christians yea on all generous. fouls, with whom there is any remains of conscience, that it has oft provok'd them Heb. X. 24, to love and good works 'and by a pious Matth v. 16. emulation to tread their steps to glorifie ... Pet. V, 12. God, and mend their pace heaven-ward.
Without the holy and exemplary lives of the votaries of religion, the gospel of Christ usually is fofar from gaining ground, that it daily loses the room it has in the world; of which the present melancholy ftate of the reformed churches is too plain a docu. ment. I am perswaded that next to the great out. pouring of the lpirit from on high, Ifa. xxxii. 156 the rapid and admirable fuccefs of the glorious golo pel, was greatly owing to the holy lives of its profesfors, especially their shining in the peculiar and disto inguishing duties of Christianity, and their cheerful and undaunted boldness in suffering forChrist. There's for fince in our day the gospel is fo visibly destitute of great advantage to commend the christian religion to the consciences of all, both friends and foes, we hope the printing of the following sheets, will not be found unseasonable, when there is so evident, and univerlal a decay of the life and power of religion with the truly godly, and such a prodigious and formidable growth of hypocrisy, formality, luke. warmness and security, &c. with many in the visible church, when the scandalous and profane lives of many profest Christians, are giving so deep and deadly a wound to the credit of religion and the gospel ; when not a few, especially of our youth, and that not of the meanest quality, are poisoned, I fear beyond the power of antidote,with profane romances,stage-plays, and histories of the filthy and impure amours of the vileft rakes, and most profligate debauchees, and with aithiestical and blaspemous books against all religion ; in a time when the world is abused with lying stories of the lives of men, base apostates, that preached an other gospel, ceased not to pervert the right ways of the Lord, and that were cruel wolves and persecutors; hy which they are represented, and very artfully dressed up in the likeness of great virtuousos, first rate Christians, and men of God indeed. Who knows, but this book, may be of some use to rouse decayed Christians, waken such as have a name to live, but are dead,give a check to the vicious and loose lives of the immoral, expose the distinguised lives of eneo mies, and convict alhiests; and tho' it should be wholly fruitless that way, yet it should be a standing testimony and witness against the dangerous and growing evils of this perlious time, they mall know there has been a praphet, among them. · The first three periods of his life were all found after his death in a manufcript, written with his own hands as they are printed; but all we could have of the foorth period of his life, is only fome gleanings from imperfect short hints of things in his diary,
which he had never digested nor enlarged, which is certainly a very considerable loss, seeing the experiences of this fourth period, might have been much more useful, being the whole time of his miniftry ; but the wise Lord, the master, called him off, and prevented it, After he was fixed in a charge, he had much work, his parish being both spacious and nume. rous '; he was oft abroad preaching at facraments, also about business, and always when he preached, if in health, he wrote much, as is told afterwards, and he was scarce three years a minister, when his health broke. These and other difficulties had hindred his finishing those memoirs, we judge, which we know he designed; he told himself to some friends,if health and
business would have allowed, he would have written as cho much on the fourth period, as on all the other three. * - In reading of his exercise, the terror he was once
under, when, as he words it, the Lord brought him to Sinai, it would be remembred, that tho' preparatory law-works with all the adult that are called, be the fame as to substance, all must be enlightened, convinced of their sin and misery, be made truly lenlible of their loft state, be throughly humbled, made to see their state desperate without a Saviour, and be renewed ere they will come to Jesus, so there is a great variety among the Lord's people as to the time of their awaking, the duration of it, the means by. which, &c. measure of terror, or down-casting, and distinctness about their exercise, and the like.
No serious foul has reason to be shaken about their interest in Christ Jesus, tho' they have not been fo early awakened as fome, or had so great a degree of terror, and been so long under it as others, or tho' they cannot give so distinct account of the time when, the means or instruments by which the Lord first a wakened them, as some can do, by all which they have no small advantage. ”Tis to be regreted, that Some worthy men have, by uncautious discourses on