« السابقةمتابعة »
are inserted, but also such which are any ways argumentative, or enforcing (whether by examples, the equity of the things, the nature of God, his approbation, promises, or threatening), or any way illustrating or expounding of it, by whatsoever terms they are expressed: whereof a little use of this treatise will soon give full evidence.
But, to prevent prejudices and mistakes, and give some light into the way and method the Author hath taken, he proposeth these two things:
I. To prevent prejudice. Do not make a judgment from reading one or two texts at the beginning of any head: for, possibly, they may not at the first sight appear so pertinent to the matter as others do which follow; they may be only argumentative, and not positive: for the Author so placed them on purpose, that they might run in order as they lie in the Bible, that the Reader might go to any text of either Testament, without turning backward and forward; and thence it happens sometimes, that Scriptures least to the purpose first occur to view.
Likewise, pass not sentence upon any text under any head, as impertinent to the subject there, until it be seriously weighed: for possibly in so doing, thou mayest discern something in that Scripture which thou never didst observe before, nor mightest have taken notice of, had not the head or subject there turned thy thoughts upon it.
And then, the Author doubteth not, but that the composure itself, when judiciously considered, will prevent another censure, viz. That it is a needless work, as having been done already by others: this being a performance of another nature than any yet extant, and will be more serviceable in sundry views. For, notwithstanding any other helps, the finding out of apt Scriptures for illustrating or confirming any truth which may be upon our thoughts, has ever been, and still is, a difficult and laborious work; and thence men ofttimes use Scriptures, either not apt, according to the intent of the Holy Ghost; or such, the genuine sense of which is doubted.
And as for the use of concordances herein, each man's memory must record the Scriptures: for they must first occur to his thoughts, then his judgment must fix upon some word therein, under which the text is placed; and it is possible not to hit the right term under which it is; and ofttimes look a long time ere he comes to it, because of the multitude of words there used; and haply miss it at last too,
and be put upon searching under another term. But here we need only turn to the subject inquired after, and, without any such stops, find. Scriptures full and apt thereto (by whatsoever terms or phrases they are expressed) occur to our eye at an instant; and, mostly, all that the Scripture affords on that subject.
II. To give some light into the method, and the use of this work.
1. Take notice, that, in Chap. XI. [Of the Failings of God's Children], the first texts are to prove each person's title to that appellation, then the next following, his failings: and this is done on purpose, that it might appear these are the Failings of God's Children; and so proper to the Head.
2. Note also, That the words in a parenthesis, beginning with (or) are the marginal readings.
3. Some general heads have no particulars following, but the whole placed under that general head. This is so done, either because the texts which the Scripture affords on that subject are but few, and so easily run through; or that the matters are so various, that almost every verse carries a distinct meaning in it, yet still relating to the general head; as in that [The Privileges of the Righteous], each text is almost a distinct privilege: so in that [Of the Character of Saints], and some others of like nature. And here to have descended to particular heads, would have been tedious and unnecessary; for the words being there transcribed, the Reader may presently inform himself in the whole, and in every particular.
LASTLY. A little pains in observing the CONTENTS or TABLE in the front of the book, which doth contain the general and particular heads, and also the references thereto, directing to Chapter and Page where each lieth, will enable us to discern more of the method and usefulness of the work, than can be well expressed in a short Introduction.
This therefore shall suffice, presuming the work itself will shew its own usefulness and advantage; holding a man to one subject, and yielding variety of matter to enforce it upon the mind, and leave impressions there: when the bare reading a chapter or two, which some use to do as a task, proves not effectual for that end; and searching proves laborious, and often discouraging and fruitless too.
WHEREIN THE SEVERAL GENERAL HEADS ARE SPECIFIED, THE
Sect. IV. Eternal life and salvation 80 CHAP. XIV. Of the duties of believers,