« AnteriorContinuar »
veyed through different Instruments to the Knowledge of the World.
Fifthly, IN a PERSUASIVE and CONVINCING manner : and that these ways.
1. BRINGING DIVINE TRUTHS “ down to our CAPACITY ; clothing SPIRITU
AL MATTer in familiar Expressions and « Similitudes; that so they might have the ea“ sier Admission into our Minds.
2. PROPOUNDING things as our “ Interest, which are our Duty: thence “ God so frequently in Scripture recommends
our DUTIES to us, under all those Motives “ which are wont to have the greatest FORCE
on the Minds of Men; and annexeth graci“ous PROMISES to our PERFORMANCE of them, « and those of the most weighty and concern
ing Things. Of GRACE, Favour, PROTEC“ TION, DELIVERANCE, Audience of PRA
YERS, and ETERNAL HAPPINESS : And if " these will not prevail with Men, what Mou cives will ?
3. COURTING us to Obedience, when “ he might not only COMMAND us to obey,
PUNISH presently for Disobedience. “ Hence are all those most pathetical and af“ fectionate Strains we read in Scripture. O " that there were such an Heart within them, " that they would fear me, and keep all my Commandments
, always, that it might go well “ with them, and with their Children after them!
" THE Scriptures may be considered as a " Rule of LIFE, or as a Law of God, which " is given for the Government of the Lives of “ Men: and therein, the Excellency of it lies « in the Nature of the Duties, and the Encou
ragements to the Practice of them.
First, I N the NATURE of the Duties required, which are most becoming God to REQUIRE ; most reasonable for us to PER
1. MOST becoming God to REQUIRE ; as they are most suitable and agreeable to " the DIVINE NATURE: the Imitation of " which in our Actions is the Substance of our
Religion. IMITATION of him in his Good“ NESS and HOLINESS, by our constant En“ deavours of MORTIFYING Sin, and growing “ in GRACE and PIETY. In his GRACE and
MERCY, by our kindness to all Men; FOR“ GIVING the Injuries Men do unto us; doing
GOOD to our greatest Enemies. In his Jus
TICE and EQUITY; by DOING as we would “ be done by, and keeping a Conscience void of Offence, towards God and towards Men.
2. THEY are most reasonable for us " to perform, in that God requires nothing " but what is apparently Man's Interest to do: “ God prohibits nothing but what will de« STROY him, if he doth it; so that the Com" mands of the SCRIPTURES are very Just and
“ Secondly, THE Encouragements are more " than proportionable to the Difficulty of O« bedience.
God's Commands are in them" selves easy, and most suitable to our Na
tures. What more RATIONAL for a CREATURE, than to obey his MAKER? All the Difficulty of Religion ariseth from the Cor“ 'RUPTION of Nature. Now God, to encou
rage Men to CONQUER the DIFFICULTIES " arising thence, hath propounded the strong“ eft Motives, and most prevailing Arguments " to OBEDIENCE.
“ SUCH are the Considerations of God's " Love and GOODNESS MANIFESTED to the “ World, by sending his Son into it, to DIE “ for SINNERS, and to give them an FXAMPLE, “ which they are to follow; and by his Readi“ ness through him to PARDON the Sins, and " ACCEPT the Persons of such, who so receive “ him as to walk in him; and by his Promi“ SES of Grace to ASSIST them in the wrest
ling with the Enemies of their Salvation.
“ AND to all these, add that GLORIOUS « and UNCONCEIVABLE Reward, which God “ hath PROMISED to all those who sincerely “ OBEY him: And by these things, we see how “ much the ENCOURAGEMENTS over-weigh " the DifficULTIES; and that none can make “ the least Pretence that there is not Motive
SUFFICIENT to down weigh the TROUBLES 66 which attend the Exercise of OBEDIENCE to « the Will of God.
“ SO that we see what a peculiar Excellency “ there is in the Scriptures, as a Rule of Life, “ above all the Precepts of meer MORALISTS; “ the Foundacion of Obedience being laid
deeper in Man's Obligation to serve his MA
KER, the practice of Obedience being car“ ried higher in those most Holy Pre
CEPTS, which are in Scripture the REWARD " of OBEDIENCE ; being incomparably greater “ than what Men are able to CONCEIVE, much " less to PROMISE or BESTOW. “ THE Excellency of the Scriptures ap
pears, as they contain in them a Covenant “ of GRACE, or the. Transactions between
God and Man, in order to his ETERNAL “ HAPPINESS, The SCRIPTURES contain in " them the Magna Charta of Heaven; an Act " of PARDON with the ROYAL ASSENT of “ Heaven, a PROCLAMATION of GOOD-WILL
from God towards Men. “ AND can we then set too great a Va. " lue on that which contains all the remark" able Passages between God and the Souls of + Men, in order to their FELICITY, from the “ BEGINNING of the WORLD? Is God so
good to Men as to this PRESENT LIFÉ; and can we think, if Man's Soul be IMMORTAL, as we have proved it is; or is it poffible to imagine that Man should be happy in anos "ther World, without God's PROMISING it, " and PRESCRIBING Conditions in order to it
« WHAT RECORDS are there in che World " that can in the least vye with the SCRIP
TURES, as to the giving so juft an Account of all the Transactions between God and Men, from the Foundation of the WORLD! Which gives us all the Steps, Methods, and Ways, whereby God hath made known his “ Mind and Will to the World, in order to " Man's ETERNAL SALVATION.
“ IT remains only then, that we ADORE « and MAGNIFY the GOODNESS of God, in “ making known his Will to us; and that “ we set a VALUE and ESTEEM on the Scrip“ tures, as on the only AUTHENTICK Instru
ments of that GRAND CHARTER of Peace “ which God hath revealed, in order to Man's “ ETERNAL HAPPINESS.
TO this, I think, it may not be improper to
add a few Paragraphs contained in the DE• DICATION to the said Book.
“IT may justly seem strange, that the " Christian Religion, which contains nothing “ in it but what is truly NOBLE, and most RA“ TIONAL and PLEASING to the SPIRITS of all “ GOOD MEN, should yet suffer so much in its “ Efteem in the World, through those strange " and uncouth Vizards it is represented un“ der : Some accounting the life and PRAC“ TICE of it, as it speaks of SUBDUING our “ Wills to the Will of God (which is the Sub“ ftance of all RELIGION) a Thing too LOW " and MEAN for their RANK and CONDITION " in the World; while others pretend a Quar" rel against the PRINCIPLES of it, as UNSA" TISFACTORY to human Reason.
“ IT is hard to define which is most in JURIOUS to it, that which questions the PRINCIPLES, or that which despisech the PRACTICE of it.