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They contain bleffings of all forts, of the most excellent nature, and fuited to every circumstance. As man is made up of body, as well as fpirit, and the neceffities of this prefent life must be provided for, as well as his happiness fecured in the next; in the Promifes abundant care is taken of both, and provifion is made for the peace, comfort, and welfare of the Christian, both in this, and in the other world. He is affured of the feveral neceffaries and conveniences of this life, in fuch a measure, as Infinite Wisdom fees best for him. And fince we are exposed to various troubles and calamities, there are many Promifes made with relation to them; either that we fhall be preferved from thofe afflictions, or, if it be neceffary we fhould be exercised with them, that we fhall be powerfully fupported under them, and in the best time and way, delivered from them, after that they have been made to answer the most excellent ends upon us. Nor is it easy to say, what a vast variety of confolations are provided for our relief in thofe trials. But, however valuable, confidering the circumftances of our prefent ftate, the Promifes relating to temporal enjoyments and afflictions, may be, they are not to be compared with the excellency and glory of thofe fpiritual and eternal bleflings, with which we are bleffed in Chrift Jefus, and of which we have the most clear, full, and exprefs Promises in the gospel. Therein, how great, how particular a regard is had to the condition of fallen, finful man ! What care is taken to eafe the confcience under the burden of guilt, and the apprehenfions of Divine. wrath, by the most gracious promises of pardon and mercy! What affurances given of reconciliation and acceptance with God, through the blood and interceffion of the Redeemer! To what glorious privileges and high honours is the Chriftian advanced! Such as, the adoption of children, a kind regard to all his
prayers, the miniftry of angels, and an interest in the grace, love and fellowship of God the Father, and of his eternal Son and Spirit. In the Promifes is contained all that grace which is requifite to refine and ennoble our natures, to enlighten our understandings, to regulate our wills, and purify our affections; to preferve us from fin, and all the contrivances and fnares of the devil and the world, and to exalt us to the highest perfection of holiness and happiness.
The manner, in which these bleffings are promised, ftill further adds to their value. They are not expreffed in general or ambiguous terms, but with greatest clearness and perfpicuity. God would not leave his people at an uncertainty, concerning his kind intentions towards them. If the meaning of the promise seem doubtful in one place, it is abundantly cleared up in feveral others. Nor is it only here and there in fome few paffages, or in a cold and reserved manner, that God has fignified his good will; but, upon the account of our dullness and flowness to believe what God has promised, he has both made use of the strongest words and phrafes that language could furnish out, and has over and over, in great variety of expreffion, often repeated the affurances of his favour. He has contrived his Promifes fo, as to meet with all our objections, and remove all our doubts and fears: And herein he has been pleased to fhew an affection, tenderness, and condefcenfion, which could not be expected from an earthly prince to his fubjects; much lefs from the great and glorious majesty of heaven and earth, to finful duft and afhes.
But what doth in the highest degree enhance the worth and excellency of the Promifes, is, The evidences we have, that they fhall certainly be made good; fince, as the apostle argues, Heb. vi. 17. 18. we have for them both the word and oath of that God that cannot lie, that fo we might have strong con
folation, who have fled for refuge, to lay hold upon the hope fet before us. And of the covenant thus confirmed, Chrift the Son of God is made the Surety, Heb. vii. 22. having ratified it by his own blood. And that all the ever-bleffed Trinity might concur in eftablishing our faith upon the strongest foundation, the Holy Spirit of God witneffes to the truth of the Promifes, by his miraculous operations, when first poured forth upon the apoftles, and by his fanctifying influences upon the hearts of all true Chriftians, both then, and ever fince. Hereby he infpires into them a lively hope, and furnishes them with well-grounded evidences of their intereft in the promifes; and their hope makes them not afhamed, because the love of God is fhed abroad in their hearts by the Holy Ghoft, which is given unto them, Rom. v. 5.
The Promifes therefore of the gospel being of so excellent a nature, and confirmed to us by fuch authority and evidence, cannot but have very great and happy influences upon the mind, when feriously attended to, and applied with faith; especially as they are the means by which the Spirit of God carries on his work upon the foul. They are the strongest argiments to perfuade the finner to turn to God, the greatest encouragements to a humble, believing de◄ pendance upon the grace of Chrift in the gofpel, and the most powerful motives to fincere and universal obedience Since by them we are affured, that every penitent finner fhall find the moft gracious acceptance; that from the grace of Chrift we fhall derive fufficient ftrength and capacity for every duty; and that in keeping God's commands there is great reward. So that would we but duly confider the feveral Promifes made to every exercife of grace, and every performance of duty, what a fpur would this be to quicken our flow pace in the ways of holinefs! What an encouragement to be fledfaft and immoveable,
always abounding in the work of the Lord, forafmuch as we know that our labour is not in vain in the Lord, I Cor. xv. 58.
A FIXED, Conftant attention to the Promifes, and a firm belief of them, would prevent folicitude and anxiety about the concerns of this life. It would keep the mind quiet and compofed in every change, and fupport and keep up our finking spirits under the feveral troubles of life. In the multitude of my thoughts within me, thy comforts delight my foul, Pf. xciv. 19. Christians deprive themselves of their most folid comforts by their unbelief, and forgetfulness of God's Promifes. For there is no extremity fo great, but there are Promifes fuitable to it, and abundantly fufficient for our relief in it.
A thorough acquaintance with the Promifes would be of the greatest advantage in prayer. With what comfort may the Chriftian address himself to God in Christ, when he confiders the repeated affurances that his prayers fhall be heard? With how much fatisfaction may he offer up the feveral defires of his heart, when he reflects upon the texts wherein those very mercies are promised? And with what fervour of fpirit, and strength of faith, may he enforce his prayers, by pleading the feveral gracious Promifes, which are exprefsly to his case ?
Further: Great affistance and encouragement may the Christian derive in his fpiritual warfare, when he takes a view of the many Promifes of grace and ftrength, to mortify fin, and to refift the devil; of, fuccefs, and a final victory in his conflicts with the enemies of his falvation; and of an incorruptible: crown of glory, to be given him as the reward of his firmnefs, conftancy and perfeverance. A great deal more may be faid, but that I would not too much en large this Introduction, to fhew of what excellent use B. 2. the
the Promifes would be, if duly attended to, to promote all the exercises of the divine life, and to inspire into a good man comfort and joy in every state of life.
That the Chriftian might have before him, in one view, the many great and precious Promifes fcattered up and down in fcripture, and in fuch a method, as easily to find what is fuitable to his cafe, I have drawn up the following Collection. The occafion indeed, of my first entering upon it, was to affift some young perfons, who very commendably, and to their great advantage, are employed in improving themfelves, and one another, in the knowledge of the fcriptures; one of their exercises being to treasure up in their memories, and question one another upon the Promifes, under their feveral heads. At first, I intended to put together a small number, upon fome principal fubjects; but, upon searching the fcripture, more and more texts ftill offering themselves, which I thought equally to my purpose, the Collection at length grew fo large, that the taking so many copies as were wanted, would have been a tedious work : for which reason, and in hopes it might ferve the fame afeful end to others, I at laft gave way to its being made public. Since I completed it, I have examined fome other Collections I have met with, and have added out of them thofe few texts, which I had not before obferved; fo that, I believe, this is the fulleft collection of the kind of any extant, at least that I have feen.
I have endeavoured to put them together in fuch a method, as might be easiest and fitteft for common ufe. I have not increafed the heads to fo great a variety of particulars, as fome may expect; both becaufe too many divifions rather confound, than affift the memory, and alfo the applying of the Promifes to cafes too particular, would have too much confined