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For this cause also thank we God without

ceasing, because when ye received the Word of God which he heard of us, ye received it not as the Word of Men, but as it is in truth the Word of God, which effe&ually worketh also in

you that believe.

WE

E are fallen into those Times
which our Saviour prophesied

of, Luke 18. 8. When I come again shall I find Faith upon

Eartb? We have been contending about Matters of a remoter Nature, but now we are to maintain the great and necessary Truths of Christianity, against Men whose Confidence and Crimes vie with each other. We have been disputing about

Vol. II. Rites and Ceremonies, Forms of Pray

er, Circumstantials of Government, and Modes of Expression: But now we are to Defend the Foundation and Being of Religion, against the Assaults and Attacks of Men, who are Enemies to all Goodness and Vertue, and therefore to Divine Revelation. Nor is Religion in danger only from the Prophane, but Enthusiast, from the Sinner and Scoffer, but also from the Zealot and Superstitious ; for whilst one explodes the Scripture as False, and the other rejects it as a dead Leto ter, while one sets up Reason, another a private Spirit, Faucy or Tradition in the room of it; while one plainly denies its Authority, and another eludes it; every way the Christian Religion is undermined, and our holy Faith, once deliver'd to the Saints, shaken and overthrown. And where Faith decays, Iniquity must conse quently abound, and Immorality must advance the same pace with Infidelity ; for there's nothing to restrain Mens vicious Inclinations, when their Principles are deprav'd; and the Word is preach'd in vain, when it is not mixt with Faith in them that hear it. 'Tis.

with design to obviate, as much as in Vol. II. me lyes, this fatal and spreading Mifchief, and withal to prepare and di. {pose the Minds of the Hearers for the better reception of those Discourses which are to follow here this Winter, that I have pitch'd upon this Text. The best way to give a Check to Infidelity and Immorality, being in general to establish by plain and uncontrolable Arguments the Divine Authority of Holy Writ; and the best way to render Sermons profitable, be. ing to possess the Minds of an Auditory with a firm Perswalion, that the Doctrines Preached to them, if consonant to holy Writ, are the Truths of God.

That by the Word of God in my Text, we are to understand, not any uowritten Tradition, but the written Word, is evident from several Arguments, which may be deduced from the Text it self ; the Word which St. Paul preach'd every where was Repentance towards God, and Faith in our Lord Jesus Christ, and therefore this must be the Word which the Theffalonians heard of him ; this Word is said here to work effe&tually in them that be

lieved

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