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To my much Honoured Friend and Patron JOSEPH LANG TON, Esq; SIR,
IS a Maxim of Prudence given by
some of the Nicer Defcribers of the Bounds of Gratitude, Thatitought to be temper'd between a total Neglect and a full and juft Requital. To strike off all Scores is, they fay, as uncivil as to discharge none, and every whit as disingenuous not to suffer, as got to acknowledge an Obligation.
Now, Sir, 'tis one of the proper Happinesses of my little Fortune to be necessarily cast upon this Measure. I am got too far in your Accounts to be able to requite to the full; some part of them I must ever leave uncrofsed as a standing Hold upon me; and tho my Gratitude it self be never so strong and pregnant, yet the most forward Instance of it can rife no higher than an Acknowledgment.
And as this is the utmost I can do, so of doing this too I have so few Capacities and Opportunities, that I am the less willing to let go any that offer themselves ; which indeed has given a speedier Issue to my Deli
beration, whether I ought to Address these Discourses to your Patronage or no, which perhaps without the Formality of a Dedication, would of right belong to you, as falling within your District, and as being the Fruits of that Retirement which by your Free Bounty I enjoy.
As an Acknowledgment therefore of this and your other constant Favours, I presume to put these Discourses into your Hands, Which I hope will be able to do both You and Me that. Justice, as to convince the World, that as you proceeded by generous and uncorrupt Measures in disposing of this Publick Trust, foyou was not altogether mistaken in your Choice, when you thought fit to Ob
: John Norris.
Nepton St, Loe,
Sing cul si
Here commend to thy serious Perusal a Set of
Select Discourses upon the Beatitudes, which were at first, undertaken, and are now publisb’d. for the Publick Benefit of all well-disposed Christians. The Subje&ts themselves are as Great and Noble as any perhaps that occur in all Practical Divinity, being the Prime and Capital Aphorifms of our Saviour's excellent Sermon upon the Mount, and containing the Fundamental Principles of all Christ's Practical Instructions, and of a true Christian Temper and Life.
Here we may see" ( what the Philosopher so much defired) the true Living Idea of Vertue and Goodness; nay more, what 'tis tobe a Chriftian, an Interiour Christian, a Christian indeed. And I heartily wish that those whose Orthodoxy is chiefly.employed in giving out Marks and Signs of Conversion and Saintship; wherein their end seems rather to be the distinction of a Party, than any real Promotion of Godliness; would choose ru. ther to dress their Interiour by this Glass, and afterwards try it by this Measure. For here they will find that Real Christianity consists in Poverty of Spirit, Humility, Self-denyal, Mortification, Meekness, Mercifulness, Parity of Heart,
such like inward Dispositions of Soul; and not in a fer outward Formalities, Sighs and Groans, Looks and Pösteres, Words and Phrases, and
such other affected Badges of a fond Diftinétion.
And as the Subjects themselves are Great and Noble, fo I hope these Discourses wili be
found in some measure tg rise up to their Dignity... I am sure there has been no care wanting on my part to make them worthy of their Subjects, to which I have endeavoured to do the utmost Justice. Bet however I may fail of that, yet I hope the Reader will not be altogether disappointed of his Expectat tions, or repent of his Labour; but will find here fiefficient Entertainment both for his Speculation, and for his Devotion.
It may perhaps be a Surprize to fomseto see me appear again fofoon in publick. To this
, if there needs any Apology, that which I shall offer is, That if these Discourses be not worthy of publick Viero, then 'tis not fit they should ever be sent abroad ; but if they be, I cannot understand how they can be published too soon. The Truth.is, confidering the shortness and uncertainty of Life, I have been Lately very much of Opinion, That a Mancan never live too falta(the Heathen will tell you Never faft enough) nor make too much baste 10 da good ; especially when 4 Man's Sphere is such, that he. bas but Few ways and Opportunities of doing it; which by Experience I am well conviniod to be iny Cale.