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and prophecies, and thereby is the perfection and crown of it, shocks their faith, and which, through their own weakness, they
those things, and of the calling in of the Gentiles.
20., mnaequently, reject the New Testament, and therefore tament are more virulently and daringly attacked by some Testament should reject the New; since, beside all the parti- by any Jews, or Mahomet and his Alcoran by any Musselmen, trete vs mh an admirable harmony between it and the Old. I agrees with the Old, in all the main intentions of it, refers (lation, but in contempt and defiance of all divine revelation; Nos of the ceremonial law; both which certainly were of dirin appointen nt; and yet the New Testament does not at being thereby prejudiced against pure Christianity, they should yes of time. No other is to be expected than that the mor- abused and misrepresented. metar should disappear when the sun rises; and the latter
THE PREFACE FOUR EVANGELISTS, ACTS OF THE APOSTLES. The one half of our undertaking upon the New Testament 2. They were very honourably laid aside, and rather exchanis now, by the assistance of Divine grace, finished, and pre-ged for that which was more noble and excellent, more divine sented to the reader, who, it is hoped, the Lord working with and heavenly. The Jewish church was swallowed up in the it, may hereby be somewhat helped in understanding and im- Christian, the Mosaic ritual in evangelical institutions. So that paring the sacred history of Christ and his apostles, and in the New Testament is no more the undoing of the Old, than making it, as it certainly is the best exposition of our creed, the sending of a youth to the university is the undoing of his in which these inspired writers are summed up; which is inti- education in the grammar school. mated by that Evangelist, who calls his gospel, A Declaration 3. Providence soon determined this controversy, (which is the ping those things which are most surely believed among us, Luke only thing that seemed a controversy between ihe Old Testa1.1,
ment and the New,) by the destruction of Jerusalem, the desoAnd as there is no part of scripture which it concerns us lations of the temple, the dissolution of the temple-service, more to be well established in the belief of, so there is none and the total dispersion of all the remains of the Jewish nation; which the generality of Christians are more conversant with, with a judicial defeat of all the attempts to incorporate it again, o speak of more frequently. It is therefore our duty, by con- now for above 1600 years; and this, according to the express Stan: pains in meditation and prayer, to come to an intimate predictions of Chrisi, a little before his death. And, as Christ apuaintance with the true intent and meaning of these narra- would not have the doctrine of his being the Messiah much uves, what our concem is in them, and what we are to build insisted on, till the great conclusive proof of it was given by his upon them, and draw from them; that we may not rest in such resurrection from the dead; so the repeal of the ceremonial a korwedge of them as that which we had, when in our child-law, as to the Jews, was not much insisted on, but their keepbond we were taught to read English out of the translation, ing up the observation of it was connived at, till the great and Greek out of the originals, of these books. We ought to conclusive proof of its repeal was given, by the destruction of
* them as the physician does his dispensatory, the lawyer Jerusalem, which made the observation of it for ever impractihis books of reports, and the sailor his chart and compass; cable. And the manifest tokens of divine wrath, which the tbar is, to know how to make use of them in that which we Jews, considered as a people, even notwithstanding the prosapps selves to as our business in this world, which is, to perity of particular persons among them, continue under to this Serve God here, and enjoy him hereafter, and both in Christ day, is a proof, not only of the truth of Christ's predictions backs are the
fountains and foundations of) were, to reduce years,) and that can be no other than crucifying Christ, and The great designs of the Christian institutes, (which these that of idolatry, (for which they lay under a desolation of 70 the children of men to the fear and love of God, as the com- rejecting his Gospel.
Thus evident it is, that in our expounding of the New Tesdoor to him ; to show them the way of their reconciliation tament, we are not 'undoing what we did in expounding the ob de fons to Jesus Christ as Mediator ; and thereby to en- prophets for the confirmation of the great truth which the Gos
them to all instances of devotion toward God, and justice pels are written to prove-That our Lord Jesus is the Messiah Chris', an obedience to his law, and in pursuance of his great for no other. For though his appearing 'did not answer the en mish this view, to make these writings serviceable to the external pomp and power, yet it'exactly answered
all the types, het me that those writings, thus made use of to serve these their accomplishment in him; and even bis ignominicus suffed To and noble designs, may have their due insluence upon us, rings,
which are the greatest'stumblingblock to the Jews,
were Hinterros us to be well established in our belief of their di- foretold concerning the Messiah; so that if he had not submit plenal
. And here we have to do with two sorts of peo- ted to them, we had failed in our proof; so far it is from being partisan to the New, pleading than it that be right this is Christian's "Messiah, has abundantly made out this truth, and en Christian nation, and by baptism Wear the Christian name, of the Jews against it, above any in our language. her and these are the Jews. Others
, though they live in answered the cavils ( for such they are, rather than arguments) of thought,
But we live in an age when Christianity and the New Tes
their own bowels, than by those upon their borders.
the Od, of course.
Christians; and this, not under colour of any other divine reveupon it, shows the accomplishment of its types and not by way of complaint, that they meet with that which Hotele rous promies which Shine me brightly in fin
, and the serped in the understanding of, and the reconciling of them to o non it be a great delusion je buch me carcasure the same opposition, as if they Yookid upon in as their enemy, and were reo seperti and the roline must embrace the crew Testament to sup solved by all means possible to be the ruin of it ; though they hotel the peculiarity of the whole othenation, Tanda me oblays into "tech corruptions of worship and crueltes hor government has an the Old Testament, which the New Testament lays the pretence of it has transported many in the church of Rome
as are indeed ihe scandal of human nature, yet, instead of nas Tahey were always resigned to be laid aside in the fiul see soherce pentram instructions as that fish in itself
, so hasety They to thinkers, I will not here go about to produce the arguments
a clash with the Old; for,
which, to all that are not wilfully ignorant and prejudiced First, I cannot but think that the God who made man a reaagainst the truth, are sufficient to prove the divine original and sonable creature by his power, has a right to rule him by his authority of the doctrine of Christ. The learned find much law, and to oblige him to keep his inferior faculties of appetite satisfaction in reading the apologies of the ancients for the and passion, together with the capacities of thought and speech, Christian religion, when it was struggling with the polytheism in due subjection to the superior powers of reason and conand idolatry of the Gentiles. Justin Martyr and Tertullian, science. And when I look into my own heart, I cannot but Lactantius and Minutius Felix, wrote admirably in defence of think that this was it which my Maker designed in the order Christianity, when it was further sealed by the blood of the and frame of my soul, and that herein he intended to support Martyrs.
his own dominion in me. But its patrons and advocates in the present day have ano Secondly, I cannot but think that my happiness is bound up ther sort of enemies to deal with. The antiquity of the pagan in the favour of God, and that his favour will, or will not, be theology, its universal prevalence, the edicts of princes, and toward me, according as I do, or do not, comply with the laws the traditions and usages of the country, are not now objected and ends of my creation. That I am accountable to this God; to Christianity; but I know not what imaginary freedom of and that from him my judgment proceeds, not only for this thought, and an unheard of privilege of human nature, are world, but for my everlasting state. assumed, not to be bound by any divine revelation whatsoever. Thirdly, I cannot but think that my nature is very unlike Now it is easy to make out,
what the nature of man was, as it came out of the Creator's 1. That those who would be thought thus to maintain a li- hands; that it is degenerated from its primitive purity and recberty of thinking, as one of the privileges of human nature, and titude. I find in myself a natural aversion to my duty, and to in defence of which they will take up arms against God him- spiritual and divine exercises, and a propensity to that which self, do not themselves think freely, nor give others leave to do is evil; such an inclination toward the world and the flesh, as So. In some of them, a resolute indulgence of themselves in amounts to a propensity to backslide from the living God. those vicious courses which they know the Gospel, if they admit Fourthly, I cannot but think that I am therefore, by nature, it, will make very uneasy to them, and a secret enmity to a thrown out of the favour of God; for though I think he is a graholy, heavenly mind and life, forbid them all free thought; for cious and merciful God, yet I think he is also a just and holy so strong a prejudice have their lusts and passions laid them God, and that I am become, by sin, both odious to his holiness, under against the laws of Christ, that they find themselves and obnoxious to his justice. I should not think freely, bui under a necessity of opposing the truths of Christ, upon which very partially, if I should think otherwise. I think I am guilty these laws are founded. Perit judicium, quando res transit in af, before God, have sinned, and come short of glorifying him, and fectum-The judgment is overcome, when the decision is referred of being glorified with him. to the affections. Right or wrong, Christ's bonds must be broken, Fifthly, I cannot but think that, without some special disand his cords cast from them; and therefore, how evident covery of God's will concerning me, and good will to me, I Boever the premises be, the conclusion must be denied, if it tend cannot possibly recover his favour, be reconciled to him, or ba to fasten these bands and cords upon them; and where is the so far restored to my primitive rectitude, as to be capable of freedom of thought then? While they promise themselves liber- serving my Creator, and answering the ends of my creation, ty, they themselves are the servants of corruption; for of whom and becoming fit for another world. For the bounties of Proa man is overcome, of the same is he brought in bondage. vidence to me, in common with the inferior creatures, cannot
In others of them, a reigning pride and affectation of singu- serve either as assurances that God is reconciled to me, or larity, and a spirit of contradiction, those lusts of the mind, means to reconcile me to God. which are as impetuous and imperious as any of the lusts of Sixthly, I cannot but think that the way of salvation, both from the flesh and of the world, forbid a freedom of thinking, and the guili and from the power of sin, by Jesus Christ, and his enslave the soul in all its inquiries after religion. Those can no mediation between God and man, as it is revealed by the New more think freely, who resolve they will think by themselves, Testament, is admirably well fitied to all the exigencies of my than those can, who resolve to think with their neighbours. case, to restore me both to the favour of God and to the govern
Nor will they give others liberty to think freely; for it is not ment and enjoyinent of myself. Here I see a proper method by reason and argument that they go about to convince us, but for the removing of the guilt of sin, (that I may not die by the by jest and banter, and exposing Christianity and its serious sentence of the law,) by the all-sufficient merii and righteousprofessors to contempt. Now, considering how natural it is to ness of the Son of God in our nature; and, for the breaking of most men to be jealous for their reputation, this is as great an the power of sin, (that I may not die by my own discase,) by imposition as can possibly be; and the unthinking are as much the all-sufficient intluence and operation of the Spirit of God kept from freethinking by the fear of being ridiculed in the club upon our nature. Every malady has herein its remedy, every of those who set up for oracles in reason, as by the fear of being grievance is hereby redressed, and in such a way as advances cursed, excommunicated, and anathematized, by the counsel the honour of all the divine attributes, and is suited and accomof those who set up for oracles in religion. And where is the modated to human nature. freethinking then?
Seventhly, I cannot but think that what I find in myself of 2. That those who will allow themselves a true liberty of natural religion, does evidently bear testimony to the Christian thinking, and will think seriously, cannot but embrace all religion; for all that truth which is discovered to me by the Christ's sayings as faithful, and well worthy of all acceptation, light of nature, is confirmed, and more clearly discovered, by Let the corrupt bias of the carnal heart toward the world, and the Gospel; the very same thing which the light of nature gives the flesh, and self, (the most presumptuous idol of the three,) be me a confused sight of, (like the sight of men as trees walking,) taken away, and let the doctrine of Christ be proposed first in the New Testament gives me a clear and distinct sight of. All its true colours, as Christ and his apostles have given it us, and that good which is pressed upon me by the law of nature, is in its true light, with all its proper evidence, intrinsic and more fully discovered to me, and I find myself much more extrinsic; and then let the capable soul freely use its rational strongly bound 10 it, by the Gospel of Christ, the engagements powers and faculties, and by the operation of the Spirit of grace, it lays upon me to my duty, and the encouragements and assiswho alone works faith in all that believe, even the high thought tances it gives me in my duty. And this is further confirming when once it becomes a free thought, freed from the bondage to me, that there, just there, where natural light leaves me of sin and corruprion, will, by a pleasing and happy power, be at a loss, and unsatisfied-tells me that hitherto it can carry captivated, and brought into obedience to Christ; and when he me, but no further--the Gospel takes me up, helps me out, and thus makes it free, it will be free indeed.
gives me all the satisfaction I can desire, and that is espeLet any one who will give himself leave to think impartially, cially in the great business of the satisfying of God's justice for and be at the pains to think closely, read Mr. Baxter's Reasons the sin of man. My own conscience asks, Whereuith shall I for the Christian Religion; and he will find, both that it goes come before the Lord, and bow myself before the most high God? to the bottom, and lays the foundation deep and firm, and also W'ill he be pleased with thousands of rams? But I am still at that it brings forth the top-stone in a believer's consent to God a loss; I cannot frame a righteousness from any thing I am, or in Christ, to the satisfaction of any that are truly concerned have, in myself, or from any thing I can do for God or present about their souls and another world. The proofs of the truths to God, wherein I dare appear before him; but the Gospel forced likewise, by Bishop Stillingfieet, in his Origines Sacræ; offering for sin, and God has declared himpelf well pleased by Grotius, in his book, of the Truth of the Christian Religion; with all believers in him; and this makes me easy. by Dr. Whitby, in his General Preface to his Commentary on Eighthly, I cannot but think that the proofs by which God the New Testament; and of late by Mr. Ditton, very argumen- has attested the truth of the Gospel, are the most proper that tatively, in his discourse concerning the Resurrection of Jesus could be given in a case of this nature-That the power and Christ; and many others have herein done worthily. And I authority of the Redeemer in the kingdom of grace should be will not believe any man who rejects the New Testament and exemplified to the world, not by the highest degree of the pomp the Christian Religion, to have thought freely upon the subject, and authority of the kings of the earth, as the Jews expected, unless he has, with humility, seriousness, and prayer to God but by the evidences of his dominion in the kingdom of nature; for direction, deliberately read these or the like books, which, which is a much greater dignity and authority than any of the it is certain, were written both with liberty and clearness of kings of the earth ever pretended to, and is no less than divine. thought.
And his miracles, being generally wrought upon men, not only For my own part, if my thoughts were worth any one's notice, upon their bodies, as they were mostly when Christ was here I do declare, I have thought of this great concern, with all the upon earth, but, which is more, upon their minds, as they were liberty that a reasonable soul can pretend to, or desire; and mostly after the pouring out of the Spirit in the gift of tongues the result is, that the more I think, and the more freely I and other supernatural endowments, were the most proper conthink, the more fully I am satisfied that the Christian Reli: firmations possible of the truth of the Gospel, which was designgion is the true Religion, and that which, if I submit my souled for the making of men holy and happy. sincerely to it, I may venture my soul confidently upon.
Ninthly, I cannot but think that the methods taken for the Fer when I think freely,
propagation of this Gospel, and the wonderful success of those
methods, which are purely spiritual and heavenly, and desti-church-governors studied to gain reputation to their secs, by tute of all
secular advantages and supports, plainly show that placing some apostolical man or other at the head of their catait was of Liod, for God was with it; and it could never have logue of bishops, (see Bishop Stilling fleet's Irenicum, P. 302,) spread as it du, in the face of so much opposition, if it had not and reputation to their Canons and Constitutions, by fathering been accompanied with a power from on high. And the pre- them upon the apostles. servation of Christianity in the world to this day, notwithstand But how can it be imagined that the apostles should be all It the dificulties it has struggled with, is to me a standing together at Jerusalem, to compose this book of Canons with so wract for the proof of it.
much solemnity, when we know that their commission was to "Lisiy, I cannot but think that the Gospel of Christ has had go into all the world, and to preach the Gospel to every creature. shte infoence upon my soul, has had such a command over Accordingly, Eusebius tells us that Thomas went into Parthia, se, ani been such a comfort to me, as is a demonstration to Andrew into Scythia, John into the lesser Asia; and we have nywele
, hough it cannot be so to another, that it is of God. I reason to think that after their dispersion they never came have tasted la is, that the Lord is gracious; and the most subtle together again, any more than the planters of the nations did disputant camo convince one who has tasted honey, thal it is after the Most High had separated the sons of Adam.
I think that any one who will compare these Constitutions And now I appeal to Him who knows the thoughts and with the writings which we are sure were given by inspiration intents of the heart, that in all this I think freely, (if it be of God, will easily discern a vast ditrerence in the style and possible for a man to know that he does so,) and not under the spirit. What is the chaff to the
uncal? poner of any bias. Whether we have reason to think that those *“Where are ministers, in the style of the true apostles, calwiw without any colour of reason, not only usurp, but monopo- led priests, high priests? Where do we find in the apostolical Eze, the character of Freethinkers, do so, let those judge, who age, that age of sutiering, of the placing of the bishop in his early observe that they do not speak sincerely, but industri- throne? Or of realers, singers, and porters in the church?” of sy disse mble their notions; and one instance I cannot but I fear the collector and compiler of those Constitutions, under muice, of their unfair dealing with their readers-that when, the name of Clement, was conscious to himself of dishonesty in for the diminishing of the authority of the New Testament, it, in that he would not have them published before all, because tay urge the various readings of the original, and quote an of the mysteries contained in them; nor were they known or ackaowledgrucat of Mr. Gregory of Christ Church, in his pre- published till the middle of the fourth century, when the forgery face to hus Works, That no profane author whatsoever, doc. and could not be so well disproved. I cannot see any mysteries in yet suppress what immediately follows, as the sense of that them, that they should be concealed, if they had been genuine; learned mun upon it, That this is an invincible reason for the but I am sure that Christ bids his apostles publish the mysteries scriptures' part, gr.
of the kingdom of God upon the house-tops. And St. Paul, We then receive the books of the New Testament as our though there are mysteries in his Epistles, much more sublime oracles; for it is erident that that excellent notion of Dr. Henry than any of these Constitutions, charges that they should be Mire's is true, that " they have a direct tendency to take read to all the holy brethren. Nay, these Constitutions are so Les or from the animal life, and to bring us to the divine life.”. wholly in a manner taken up, either with moral precepts, or
But while we are thus maintaining the divine original and rules of practice in the church, that if they had been what they arbority of the New Testament, as it has been received pretend, they had been most fit to be published before all. And tirugh all the ages of the church, we find our cause not only ihough the Apocalypse is so full of mysteries, yet a blessing is attacked by the enemies we speak of, but, in effect, betrayed pronounced upon the readers and hearers of that prophecy. We by one who makes our New Testament almost double lo what must therefore conclude that, whenever they were written, by il realis is, adding to it the Constitutions of the Apostles, col, declining the light they owned themselves to be apocryphal, that deced by Clement, logether with the Apostolical Canons, and is, hidden or concealed; that they durst not mingle themselves making those to be of equal authority with the writings of the with what was given by divine inspiration; to allude to what is Evangelists, and preferable to the Epistles. By enlarging the said of the ministers, ( Acts 5, 13:) of the rest durst no man join lines of defence thus, without either cause or precedent,* he himself to the apostles, for the people magnified them. LV great advintage to the invaders.
So that even by their own confession they were not delivered Those Constitutions of the Apostles have many things in them to the churches with the other writings, when the New TestaTry god, and may be of use, as other human compositions. ment Canon was solemnnly sealed up with that dreadful sentence Butto prelend that they were composed, as they profess thom- passed on those that add unto these things. selves to be, by the twelve apostles in concert at Jerusalem, I And as we have thus had attempts made of late upon the puriPae sung this, I Andrcu saying that, fc. is the greatest ty and sufficiency of our New Testament, by additions to it, so uprion that can be practised upon the credulity of the we have likewise had from another quarter a great contempt pce.
put upon it by the papal power. The occasion was this: 1. It is certain, there were a great many spurious writings One Father Quesnel, a French papist, but a Jansenist, near whart, ia the early days of the church, went under the names thirty years ago, published the New Testament in French, in of te apostles and apostolical men; so that it has always been several small volumes, with Moral Reflections on every verse, Om land of as impossible to find out any thing but the canon to render the reading of it more profitable, and meditation upon o scripre, that could with any assurance be attributed to it more easy. It was much esteemed in France, for the sake then Barranis himself acknowledges it, Cum apostolorum of the piety and devotion which appeared in it, and it had se0977715 frta quim dicta reperiantur esse suppositilia ; nec sic veral impressions. The Jesuits were much disgusted, and soliquide was very sincerisque scriptoribus narratum sit integrum cited the pope for the condemnation of it, though the author of
Topta remanserit, in desperationem planè quandam ani- it was a papist, and many things in it countenanced popish Budini por unam exsequi quod verum certumque sub- superstition. RX-Sivee many of the arts and sayings ascribed to the After much struggling about it in the court of Rome, a bull optere fouvli be spurious, and even the narrations of faith- was at length obtained, at the request of the French king, from Paniers respecting them are not free from corruption, we must the present pope,
Clement XI. bearing date September 8, 1713, Grm of erer being able to arrive at any absolule certainty about by which the said book, with what title or in what language
. Ad. An. Christ. 44. sect. 42, &c. There were Acts soever it is printed, is prohibited and condemned; both the Latestbe na nes of Andrew the apostle, Philip, Peter, Thomas; New Testament itself, because in many things varying from a G -pel under the name of Thaddeus, another of Barnabas, the vulgar Latin, and the Annotations, as containing divers as ther of Bartholomew; a book concerning the infancy of our propositions, (above a hundred are enumerated,) scandalous Savir, another concerning his nativity, and many the like, and pernicious, injurious to the church and its customs, impious, wurb wire all rejected as forgeries.
blasphemous, savouring of heresy. And the propositions are 2. The Constitutions and Canons, among the rest, were such as these-" That the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ is condemned in the primitive church as apocryphal, and there- the effectual principle of all manner of good, is necessary for bore jatiy rejected; because, though otherwise good, they pre-every good action ; for without it nothing is done, nay, nothing tentei in be what really they were not, dictated by the twelve can be done"-" That it is a sovereign grace, and is an operaaps themselves, as teccived from Christ. If Jesus Christ tion of the Almighty hand of God"_"That when God accomgave them such instructions, and they gave them in such a panies his word with the internal power of his grace, it operates Due a marner to the church, as is pretended, it is unaccount
in the soul the obedience which it demands"__" Thai faith is the ahtrat there is not the least notice taken of any such thing first grace, and the fountain of all others'—“That it is in vain dodr-imned in the Gospels, the Acts, or any of the Epistles. for us to call God our Father, if we do not cry to him with the
Ty wto have judged the most favourably of those Canons spirit of love"-" That there is no God, nor religion, where 21 (xstitutas, have concluded that they were compiled by there is no charity”—“That the catholic church comprehends $0% -os persons under the name of Clement, toward the the angels and all the elect and just men of the earth, of all ages" eithe secondeentury, abore 150 years after Christ's ascen
_" That it has the Word incarnate for its Head, and all the $1"s of the common practice of the churches; that is, that saints for its members"_" That it is profitable :ind necessary
le compilers were inost acquainted with, or had respect at all times, in all places, and for all sorts of persons to know for: man al le same time we have reason to think that the the holy Scriptures"_" That the holy obscurity of the word of far frater pumber of Christian churches which by that time God is no reason for the laity not reading it"_"That the Lord's **te pantei, tad Constitutions of their own, which if they had day ought to be sanctified by reading books of piety, especially tallar happiness to be transmitted to posterity, would have the holy Scriptures"-And" that to forbid Christians from reaypatinrate themselves as well as these, or better. But as ding the Scriptures, is to prohibit the use of light to the chilDe bezraues of old pat a reputation upon their laws, by pre-dren of light. Many such positions as these, which the spirit tening to have received thom from some deity or other, so of every good Christian cannot but relish as truc and good, are
* Edit. Joan. Clerici, p. 245.
condemned by the pope's bull as impious and blasphemous. perfection; and that, having laid the foundation in the history And this bull, though strenuously opposed by a great number of our blessed Saviour's Life, Death, and Resurrection, and of the Bishops in France, who were well affected to the notions the first preaching of his Gospel, we may build upon it by an of Father Quesnel, was yet received and confirmed by the acquaintance with the mysteries of godliness, to which we shall French king's letters patent, bearing date at Versailles, Febru- be further introduced in the Epistes, ary 14, 1714, which forbid all manner of persons, upon pain of, I desire I may be read with a candid, and not a critical, eye. exemplary punishment, so much as to keep any of those books I pretend not to gratify the curious; the top of my ambition is, in their houses; and adjudge any that should hereafter write to assist those who are truly serious, in searching the scripin defence of the Propositions condemned by the pope, as dis- tures daily. I am sure it is designed, and hope it is calculated turbers of the peace.
to promote piety toward God, and charity toward our brethren; It was registered the day following, February 15, by the Par- and that there is not only something in it which may edily, but liament of Paris, but with divers provisos and limitations. nothing which may justly offend, any good Christian.
By this it appears that popery is still the same thing that If any receive spiritual benefit by my poor endeavours, it ever it was, an enemy to the knowledge of the scriptures, and will be a comfort to me; but let God have all the glory, and to the honour of divine grace. What reason have we to bless that free grace of his which has employed one that is utterly God, that we have liberty to read the scriptures, and have unworthy of such an honour, and enabled one thus far to go on helps to understand and improve them; which we are concern- in it, who is utterly insufficient for such a service. ed diligently to make a good use of, that we may not provoke Having obtained help of God, I continue hitherto in it, and God to give us up into the hands of those powers that would humbly depend upon the same good hand of my God to carry use us in like manner.
me on in that which remains, to gird my loins with needful I am willing to hope that those to whom the reading of the strength, and to make my way perfect; and for this I humbly Exposition of the Oll Testament was pleasant, will find this yet desire the prayers of my friends. One volume more, I hope, more pleasant; for this is that part of scripture, which does will include what is yet to be done ; and I will both go about most plainly testify of Christ, and in which that Gospel-grace it, and go on with it, as God shall enable me, with all convewhich appears unto all men, bringing salvation, shines most nient speed; but it is that part of the scripture, which, of all clear. This is the New Testament milk for babes, the rest is others, requires the most care and pains in expounding it. But strong meat for strong men. By these, therefore, let us be I trust, that as the day, so shall the strength be, nourished and strengthened, that we may be pressing on toward
That which has been just offered to the reader, was the several years ago, an Erposition of the Epistle to the Romans, reverend author's first draught of a Preface to this volume. He which he had designed to transcribe with little alteration, for intended to revise it, if God had allowed him a return home the beginning of his next volume, and was earnestly solicited from his late journey. But though, by the afflicting stroke of to print it by itself, before he had thoughts of writing upon the his sudden death, it wants the advantage of his last hand, yet whole Bible. For the rest, there are copies of his Expositions, serious readers will be well pleased to have his first sentiments both in public and private, taken from him by judicious writers; on those important heads which there come under his consider-wherein, though they may not be of equal length, yet Mr. Henry ation; especially since it contains his dying testimony to the was used to express himself with like propriety, the same Christian Religion, the Canon of the New Testament, and the pious spirit, and uncommon skill in the scriptures. There is general usefulness of the sacred scriptures, on occasion of those encouragement to hope that the revising and preparing of these debates which have been lately started, and made the most for the press will be undertaken (if God give life and health) considerable noise in the world.
by an intimate friend of the excellent Author, whose long acThe Exposition itself, as far as the Acts of the Apostles goes, quaintance with his spirit and manner renders him the most was entirely committed to the press before he left the city. I proper person for that service; and his endeared affection will The reader will perceive his intentions for the rest of the Holy incline him to take the pains necessary for ushering them into Bible. But the sovereign providence of God, in whose hands the world. This course is apprehended to be much better than our times are, has called this faithful and diligent servant to rest either to leave such a work unfinished, when it is already from his labours, and finish well himself, before he could finish advanced so far, or to attempt the continuation of the design this, and several other great and pious designs he had for the with a quite different set of thoughts, and another sort of service of God and his church.
style and method, that it may be as much Mr. Henry's as However, it may be acceptable to such as have often enter- possible. But a reasonable time must be allowed before this tained themselves and their families with what is already can be expected. I pray God long to spare the valuable life of extant, to let them know that we are not without hopes yet of that dear friend of the Author, and every way furnish him for seeing Mr. Henry's Exposition of the remainder ; though it this good work, and all others he may undertake for the good of cannot be expected to be altogether so copious and complete as God's church, that which he himself prepared for the public. He drew up, I