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09-18-35

THE

PRE FACE.

CANDID READER,

ERE it not apprehended by me a duty, thus to offer to thy se

rious perusal the following plain and experimental observations upon various subjects, thou hadft not heard from me in

W

this way

I have often, with many brethren and sisters in the truth, been deeply affected in viewing the great danger Christian professors are exposed to through a prevailing indifference of mind. For when a lethargic stupefaction hath gained the ascendancy, religion in notion, and fruitless fpeculation, satisfy a mind so depraved. A renovation of heart, without which none can be truly religious, hath not been sought after. Pleased with the shell or form only, such have not been sensible they wanted the substance,

When

A 2

When the subtil adversary finds men in this kind of fleep or stupefaction, it is then his opportunity for sowing the tares amongst the wheat: by such means the field of the Christian church became in process of time covered therewith. That which came nearest to my heart, and most earnestly engaged my attention towards the present undertaking (not without ardent desires for the lasting advantage of Christians of all denominations) was, that the descendants of a people, who a little above a century ago were very mar-vellously brought out of, and redeemed from, all lifeless shadows, and empty forms of religion, to enjoy and be grounded in the blessed power and life thereof, might be, preserved truly sensible of the way and means whereby our worthy predecessors obtained a firm establishment in the truth, as it is Christ Jesus: for it is evident, where the means are neglected, the end cannot be attained.

That many of these descendants in this day of outward peace and plenty, inclining to false liberty and ease, do thun the cross of Christ, which would crucify them to the world, is a mournful truth, too obvious to be denied. In consideration hereof, I found a concern to throw a few observations before them, as near as I could, suited to the present State of things; endeavouring, in some degree, to offer to the view of the present and succeeding generations, by what means our worthy predecessors became such a living honourable body of people ; that the necessity may fully appear of the same blessed power operating upon their minds, in order to qualify all, that they may rightly succeed those valiants in maintaining the cause of God.

gree,

*The objection which cast fome discouragement in my way, may also occur to some readers; viz. that the subjects treated of in this small tract have been divers times heretofore judiciously wrote upon by different authors. This is no more than may be said of most other religious subjects as well as these. Divine Wisdom and Goodness hath seen meet to revive the same truths, by different instruments, from generation to generation ; the Lord's servants, speaking the same thing, as with one mouth. Herein God's gracious condescension to human frailty is very conspicuous and wonderful, by causing those excellent truths, so effential to be received that man's foul may be saved, to be frequently revived and inculcated, seeing he is so liable to forget God, and his reasonable duty to him.

Having no defire to enlarge, I shåll only add

my earnest prayer to the God and Father of all sure mercies, that this mite of simple experimental truths, which I have caft into

the

the treasury, may meet the serious reader, of whatever denomination, with the divine bleffing in it! If that graciously attend, though what is here offered may be justly accounted as the barley-loaves, the hungry soul may receive some strength and refreshment thereby.

30th 8th Mo. 1764.

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