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FROM THE POOR MAN'S FAMILY BOOK
A prayer for families.
A psalm of praise
SOUND, CONFIRMED CHRISTIAN;
OF A WEAK CHRISTIAN,
OF A SEEMING CHRISTIAN.
WRITTEN TO INPRINT UPON MEN'S MINDS THE TRUE IDEA OR
CONCEPTION OF GODLINESS AND CHRISTIANITY.
DIRECTED TO MY WORTHY FRIEND, HENRY ASHURST, ESQ. CITIZEN
DEAR AND FAITHFUL FRIEND,
When this book was printed and passing into the world, without the ordinary ornament of a prefixed honored name, my thoughts reduced me into the common way, though not upon the common reasons; assuring me that your name would be more than an accident or ceremony to such a discourse as this; even a part more substantial than a map is in a treatise of geography, or the well-cut figures in tractates of anatomy. Discourses of navigation, architecture, music, &c. may almost as hopefully instruct the learners, without any visible operations or effects, as the characters of well-tempered Chistians can duly inform the minds of ignorant, ungodly men, of so divine a thing as Christianity and godliness, without acquaintance with some such persons, in whom these characters are manifestly exemplified. Wise and holy precepts, are to make wise and holy persons : it is such persons as well as such precepts which bear the image of God; which indeed is most perfect in exactness and integrity in the precepts; (for in them is no imperfection or error, as they are of God;) but it is of greater final excellency, in activity and usefulness as it is in men.
And therefore as God delighteth in his servants, and is glorified in and by them in the world, so Satan usually chooseth such persons, to reproach and make odious to the ignorant, rather than the holy precepts immediately, by which they are directed; both because their holiness is most exasperating by activity; and also most liable to calumny and contempt, through imperfection, and mixture of that which indeed is worthy of dislike. Till godliness and Christianity be visible in full perfection, and elevated above the contradiction of folly, and the contempt of pride, the blind, distracted minds of hardened, forsaken sinners, will pot acknowledge its divine, celes