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النشر الإلكتروني

THE PARABLE OF THE TEN VIRGINS,

ILLUSTRATED.

IN

SIX SERMONS.

BY JAMES WOOD.

LONDON, 1722.

AMHERST, MASS.

PUBLISHED BY J. S. & C. ADAMS, & CO.—ANDOVER: MARK

NEWMAN.-NEW YORK: J. LEAVITT.

1830.

MAY 15

W. B. Briggs

PREFACE.

THE publishers of these Sermons feel much confidence in offering them to the Christian community. Of the author they have no other knowledge, than is given on the title page, excepting, that it appears from the preface to the London edition, that the Sermons were preached at the king's Weigh-house, to the people under the pastoral care of the Rev. Mr. Reynolds. We are not surprised, that the author was solicited to furnish a copy for the press. Though not distinguished for those flashes of imagination and explosions of feeling, which dazzle and astonish, they will be found to be replete with views and illustrations, both striking and felicitous. The portraiture, which is given of the character of those, who are true followers of Christ, and of those who merely wear the livery of discipleship, is drawn with a masterly hand. His delineation of the feelings and motives of "mere professors," and of true Christians, furnishes satisfactory evidence, that he well understood the workings of the human heart, before and after it has experienced the renewing operations of the Holy Spirit.

From these remarks it would naturally be inferred, that these Sermons on the parable of the ten virgins, are practical. This characteristic is visible on every page. It is a prominent excellence. No professor of religion can rise from the perusal of these Sermons, without feeling, that instruction and encouragement, caution and warning, have been applied to his daily conduct, and have also been carried into the most secret places, into the very sanctuary of his bosom.

It would also be inferred from what has been said, that these Sermons are evangelical. They are strictly so. They seem to have come from a mind, which had been "instructed unto the kingdom of heaven," and from a heart, which had received "an unction from the Holy One."

At a day like the present, when there is reason to fear, that many take upon themselves the mere exterior or the mere name of a Christian, we feel persuaded, that a wide circulation of these Sermons would be a great blessing to the cause of pure and undefiled religion. Although written more than a hundred years since, they are not in the least deficient in pertinency of application to all who have named the name of Christ, in our own time and in our own land. It appears to have been the object of the author, to give a truly Scriptural view of the morality, which may be taken as evidence of "the washing of regeneration and the renewing of the Holy Ghost." In doing this,

he has stripped off the disguises of hypocrisy, and laid bare the corruption and uncleanness, which often lie concealed beneath a covering of plausible professions of piety.

The present age in New England, has been blessed with many revivals of religion. For these we have great reason for gratitude. Under the excitement of animal feelings, however, it often happens, that many imagine themselves to have received a vital renovation of their moral affections, and perhaps continue for many months or even years, to cherish a hope of heaven, until at last, it is too painfully manifest, that they are still "aliens from the commonwealth of Israel." A large proportion of those, who are usually affected by revivals, are in the morning of life. They are young in every thing, which relates to the deceit fulness and desperate wickedness of the heart. They need a guide to self-examination. They need instruction from those who have had experience in the divine life. They need a map of the country through which the pilgrims must travel, before they reach the prom-.

ised land. Whatever will render tnem assistance in respect to any of the great points of practical religion, urges a claim upon their patronage. To the young, as well as the old, therefore, in the profession of the gospel, these Sermons may be earnestly recommended, as worthy of serious and prayerful attention.

It surely is not easy to exaggerate the importance of a true Christian profession. We are exposed to errors within and without. We dwell in a world of temptation. While we have " a name to live," we may be "dead in trespasses and sins." We may go regularly to the sacramental table, and partake of the emblems of our Saviour's sufferings and death,-while we are only aggravating the guilt of impenitence, and preparing ourselves for a heavier condemnation and a more withering curse, at the dread tribunal of the last day. What language can describe the agony of those, unto whom the Lord shall say," I never knew you; DEPART from me, ye workers of iniquity!"-On the contrary, what emotions of rapture shall inspire the anthems of those, to whom he shall address the salutation," Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom, prepared for you, from the foundation of the world!"

It is possible, that in remarking upon the Sermons, which follow, our feelings may have betrayed us into terms of unwarranted encomium. We would not excite expectations of any thing magnificent or unparalleled. But we feel assured, that this little volume possesses a large shares of sterling excellence, and that its merits cannot fail to be appreciated by all who love the Lord Jesus in sincerity, and who wish to be "always ready to give an answer to every man, that asketh the reason of the hope that is in them, with meekness and fear."

To these observations, we have thought it would not be uninteresting, to subjoin a brief analysis or outline of the author's illustration of the interesting parable, which is the theme of his discourses.

After some explanatory remarks, he proceeds to

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