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it, with the hard name of fpiritualifts, reckoning them a kind of Enthufiafts, unworthy of their regard. The truth is, Christianity is a myltery, mere reafon does not comprehend it. There is a fpiritual difcerning neceffary to its being rightly understood, whence it comes to pafs that men of great learning and abilities, tho' they read the Scriptures with attention, and comment learnedly upon them; yet do not, yea cannot, enter into the vein of thought peculiar to the infpired penman, because they fhare not of the fame Spirit; wherefore it is, that the Apostle Paul afferts, the natural, that is, unregenerate man, not to know the things of God, neither indeed to be capable of knowing them, because they are fpiritually difcerned.

From what has been faid, it is easy to conclude, That no pedantic apology on the part of the Author, for appearing in print, or fawning compliments to the courteous reader, on the part of the prefacer, are to be expected The truth is, both the one and the other are rather little arts, vailing pedantry and conceit, than evidences of modefty and good-fenfe. It is of more ufe to recommend the perufal of the book to perfons of all ranks and degrees, from a few fuitable topicks, than to fhew wherein this Edition differs from the first.

That all mankind, however differenced by their rank and station in the world, have an equal concern in what is revealed concerning another and future world, will be readily owned; and it must be as readily granted, that however allowable it may be for men of learning and parts, to please themselves with fineness of language, justness of thought, aud exact connection in writings upon other fubjects; yet they ought not to indulge themselves in the fame tafte in difcourfes on divine things, left they expofe themfelves to the just cenfure of acting with the fame indifcretion, as a perfon in danger of famishing by hunger, would be guilty of, if he perverfly rejected plain wholfome food when offered to him, for no other reason than the want of palatable fauce, or order and fplendor in ferving it up.

The facred book we call the Bible, has a peculiar fublimity in it, vailed with unusual dialect and feeming inconnection: but it is not therefore to be rejected by men who bear the name of Chriftians, as uncouth or unintelligible; true wifdom dictates quite another thing, it counfels us, by frequent reading, to acquaint ourselves well with it, become accustomed to its peculiar phrafes, and fearch into its fubli mities: upon this ground, that the matters contained in it, are of the utmoft confequence to us, and when rightly understood, yield a refined delight, much fuperior to what is to be found in reading the best writ ten books on the most entertaining fubjects. What pleads for the parent is a plea for the progeny; practical difcourfes upon divine fub. jects are the genuine offspring of the facred text, and ought therefore to be read carefully and with attention, by perfons of all ranks and degrees, though they are indeed calculated for, and peculiarly adapted to fuch as move in low fpheres of life.

Let it, however, be a prevailing argument with perfons of all de



nominations, carefully to read books of practical divinity, That many of them are not written on the fame motives and principles as other books are; the authors have often a peculiar divine call to publish them, and well founded hope of their being ufeful to advance Christiantly in the world. In confequence whereof it is, that great numbers have reaped benefit by reading them, efpecially in childhood and youth; many have been converted by them; and it may be queftioned, if ever there was, a true Chriftian, fince the art of printing made thefe books common, who has not, in fome ftage of life, reaped confiderable advantage from them. This book recommends itself in a particular man-ner, by its being a fhort fubftantial fyftem of practical divinity, in fo much, that it may with truth be afferted, That a perfon who is throughly acquainted with all that is here taught, may, without danger to his eternal intereft, remain ignorant of other things, which pertain to the fcience called divinity. It is therefore earnestly recommended to the serious and frequent perufal of all, but especially of fuch as are in that stage of life called youth, and are fo ftationed in the world, as not to be frequently opportuned to hear fermons, and read commentaries on the facred text.

It is doubtlefs incumbent on mafters of families to make fome provifion of fpiritual as well as bodily food, for their children and fervants; this is effectually done by putting practical books in their hands: and therefore this book is humbly and earnestly recommended as a fainilybook, which all the members of it are not only allowed, but defired to peruse.

As to the difference betwixt this and the former edition, which gives it preference, it lies chiefly in the Author's not only having revifed the ftile, but the thought in many places, and corrected both, fo as to fet feveral important truths in a clearer light, and make the ftile of the book now uniform, which formerly was not fo, because of the explications of peculiar words and phrafes in ufe amongft practical divines, efpecially of the church of Scotland, which were interfperfed throughout the former edition, and introduced by another hand, for the fake of fuchperfons a are not accustomed to them. It remains, that the prefacer not only fubjoin his name, which was concealed in the firft edition, as a teftimony that he esteems the Author, and values the book, but that he may thereby recommend it in a particular manner to the perufal of perfons of his own acquaintance. If in his affifting towards its being publifhed, and in prefacing both editions, he has not run unfent, he has what will bear him up under all cenfures; the charitable will think no evil, and others will do as they please.


MARCH, 1729.




I. The State of INNOCENCE, or PRIMITIVE INTEGRITY, difcourfed from Ecclef. vii: 29.

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His understanding a lamp of light,
His will ftraight with the will of God,
His affections orderly and pure,

The qualities of this righteousness,

Of man's original happiness,

Man a glorious creature,

The favourite of heaven,

The covenant of works,

Lord of the world,

The forbidden tree a stay to keep him from falling,

His perfect tranquillity,

Life of pure delight,

Man immortal,

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II. The State of NATURE, or State of ENTIRE DEPRAVATION.

HEAD I. The SINFULNESs of Man's natural State, difcourfed from GENESIS vi. 5.

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From men's experience, and obfervation,

Fallen Adam's image, in eleven particulars natural to men,

Of the corruption of the understanding,

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57 58

ib. 59 60






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A peculiar malignity against the priestly office; corrupt nature

lying crofs to the gofpel-contrivance of falvation,

Four proofs of it,

Bent to the way of the law, as a covenant of works,

Four proofs of it,

Against the Spirit of God,

Against the law as a rule of life,

Two evidences of it,

Contumacy against the Lord,

Perverseness in reference to the chief end,
Of the corruption of the affections,

of the confcience,

of the memory,

The body partaker of this corruption,
How man's nature was corrupted,

The doctrine of the corruption of nature applied,
The natural man can, do nothing but fin,

God takes fpecial notice of the fin of our nature,

Evidences of inen's overlooking the fin of our nature,

Wherein that fin is to be fpecially noticed,

Why it is to be fpecially noticed,

How to get a view of the corruption of nature,

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from Eph. ii. 3.

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The qualities of that wrath,

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