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TO THE READER.
The following Discourses are offered to the Public as a tribute of good-will towards them in their best and most important interests.
They were composed by the Author many years ago, and delivered both to his own and other congregations with a kind acceptance, and, as he humbly hopes, not without some benefit.
Being now, through the increase of age and its attendant infirmities, rendered unable any longer to deliver the word from the pulpit, he is desirous of contributing to the good of his fellow-creatures, by such means as an indulgent Providence still leaves in his
power. The experience of many years has afforded him an opportunity of trying the doctrines contained in them; and he is happy in being able, after repeated trial, to send forth this testimony to their blessing and veracity. Every period and circumstance in life have convinced him more and more of the truth and importance of those doctrines which are peculiar to the Gospel of Christ Jesus, and of their absolute necessity in order to the happiness, holiness, and salvation of mankind.
It has been his grief to see these so much neglected, and other foundation substituted, to the overthrowing of the Scriptures, the great dishonour of God and of our Church, and the extreme injury of the souls of men.
As a friend, therefore, to society in general, and as one who has a sincere regard for the Established Church in particular, he sends forth these sheets for the perusal of the Public. The object of his heart's desire is not to captivate admiration by any elegance of style, or striking novelty of sentiment, but to do good to the heart; to be an instrument in the hands of
; God of convincing men of their wretchedness and ruined state, without a saving interest in Jesus Christ, and of the emptiness and insufficiency of all religion which has not Him as its All in All; and, at the same time, to discover to them the way by which the faith of Jesus Christ is effectually operative to every good work.
It lies near to his heart to see so many wellmeaning persons, who, through want of instruction in these particulars, are mistaking the form of godliness for religion, and the works of the law for the Gospel of Christ; and stumbling at the only way of life and salvation, to their own very great misfortune, and the exceeding injury of Christianity.
As one, therefore, that has nearly finished
his course, to whom applause or censure are of little weight, but the salvation of souls most precious, he wishes to do all that yet remains in his power to undeceive them in so important a matter; and if it shall please God that he may but be so happy as to succeed in promoting this good effect, his whole desire is answered.
My design in the following discourses is to set before the reader the chief points of Christian doctrine, and bear my testimony to the free grace of God in the salvation of man, as the way of peace, comfort, and holiness, in opposition to any scheme, thought, or opinion of self-justification.
The guilt and damnableness of sin — the acknowledgment of our own sin, and earnest contrition for it — faith in Christ for our acceptance to a state of forgiveness, and the reward of eternal life — fidelity and grateful obedience to him from a sense of his benefits — renunciation of our own righteousness, as an absolutely insufficient ground of salvation, and deep humility in every stage of our progress - and a new birth from the Spirit, enabling us to lay hold on and improve the mercy offered us, to repent, believe, and love ; – these are the great, comprehensive truths of the Gospel, and what evidently distinguish it from all other religions.
An opinion of the powers of nature, or a sufficiency in man for the great end of his creation, present and future happiness, is so riveted in the