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“ veyed through different Instruments to the “ Knowledge of the World.
IN a PERSUASIVE and CONVINCING manner: and that these ways. i 1. BRINGING DIVINE TRUTHS u down to our CAPACITY; clothing SPIRITU« AL MATTER in familiar Expressions and “ Similitudes; that so they might have the ea« fier 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 Mo« tives will ?
“ 3. COURTING us to Obedience, when " he might not only COMMAND us to obey, “ but PUNISH prefently 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 re" quired, which are most becoming God to " REQUIRE; most reasonable for us to PER“ FORM.
« 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 reaionable 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 " REASONABLE.
" 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 CREA“ TURE, 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 6 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 Foundation 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 Vao “ 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 ano“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 just 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“ turėg, as on the only AUTHENTICK Inftru“ments of that GRAND CHARTER of Peace
which God hath revealed, in order 10 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 Sub66.stance 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.
RIOUS to it, that which questions the PRIN“ CIPLES, or that which defpisech the Prac" TICE of ii.