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HE following Sermons, though first preached

on particular occasions, have been selected in erder to form a little System of the truths of the gospel, to point out their relation to one another, and their influence on practice. There appears to me the greater necessity of this, that evangelical principles have for some time paft been falling greatly into disrepute; which I take to be the true, and the single reason, why religion is at present in so very weak and languishing a state. The attempt ought not to be considered as arising from a thirst of fame ; for a man muft judge very ill who should expeet to increase his reputation by eSpoufing this despised cause. I must also observe, that these discourses are not publisbed as containing any thing better than many practical writings of the last age ; but as an endeavour to perpetuate the knowledge of the same truths, and to supply the place of those which, through the antiquity of style and manner, seem to be falling into forgetfulness. If there is any thing particular in them, it is an attempt to illustrate the scripture-doctrine by experience, and observations on human life. it hath long been my opinion, that an impartial view of the course of Providence, and of the characters and ways of men, would greatly contribute to e stablish us in the belief of the truths of the gospel; and that the very opposition given to them by. worldly men, serves at once to accomplish and confirm them.


There will be found, in many of the sermons, expresions of reference to the time of their being first preached, particularly to the administration of the facrament of the Lord's fupper. It had been easy to have altered the sentences in which express mention is made of that ordinance; but as there is often a peculiarity or propriety of language through the whole of a discourse, which is best understood when we know the time and circum--. fances of its first composition, I chose to let them stand as they were. Another reason inclined me to the same thing : The choice of the subjects for publication was made in such a manner as to give a pretty full view of the revelation of divine mercy in the gospel, and by that means to illustrate and support the truth. - But as there is a great danger of running too much into controversy and Speculation, the best way to avoid this seemed to be, to let the sermons retain every thing particular and practical, intended for the instruction, reproof, or confolation, of the audience, when they were first delivered. With these few remarks, I commit them to the candour of the public, with very little concern as to the judgement of those who read only to pass fentence upon the ability of the writer, but earnestly praying, that God may make them instru. mental in turning finners from the error of their ways, and promoting the fanElification and peace of those who have known the truth as it is in Jesus.

I. W.

Paisley, May 16.1768.

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