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ful to thee and thy truth; and wherein many
that leadeth to destruction, and become lost to virtue and goodness and to
Our reliance and trust is in thee, O Lord, who knowest our frame, and rememberest that we are but dust: and we pray thee not to suffer us to be led into temptation which may overset our feeble virtue, but to proportion thy grace and help to the duty to which thou callest us ; that in thy wisdom and strength we may be able to overcome every thing evil, and to stand before thee.
And because it is thine appointment, O thou supreme disposer of all things that sinful allurements, and obstructions to virtue and our duty to thee, shall follow us to the end of this our mortal course ;
Permit us not to be disheartened by any thing that shall befall us, whilst we can consider all things as directed by thee; and that we are continually under thy inspection and guidance; who delightest in beholding the virtuous struggles of thy children, and who
hast graciously encouraged us, that if we are faithful unto death, thou wilt give us the crown of life.
To thee, who art able to keep us from falling, and to present us faultless before the presence of thy glory with exceeding joy: to thee, God only wise, our Saviour, be glory and majesty, dominion and power for ever and ever!
July 26, 1778.
ROMANS ii. 14, 15.
For when the gentiles, which have not the law,
do by nature the things contained in the law; these having not the law are a law unto themselves, which show the work of the law written in their hearts ; their conscience also bearing witness, and their reasoning between themselves, accusing or else excusing one another.
This epistle of St. Paul's was written from the city of Corinth in Greece, a short time before his journey to Jerusalem ; when he went up to carry the charitable collections he had made in different parts, chiefly among the gentile Christians, for the relief of his poor countrymen in Judea. Whilst he was there, through the bitter malice of his unbelieving countrymen against him, he was seized, cast into prison, and tried for his life ; of
which you have a full account in the book of the Acts :
And in consequence of his appeal from the Roman governor's tribunal to the emperor in person, he was carried to Rome, a place which he mentions his intention of visiting in this epistle ; but little thought at that time, that he should be brought thither as a prisoner for the Gospel's sake. At that early period, not twenty years
from the death of Christ, we find from the latter part of this epistle, that there was already a very considerable congregation of Christians in that capital city of the world. It was perhaps chiefly, though not altogether, made up of Jews, who lived there in
great numbers where they occupied a large district beyond the Tiber, and had their places of worship allowed them.
There might be some amongst them who had seen and known Christ himself, as they were obliged by their law to go yearly up to Jerusalem, especially at their great feast of the passover, when their curiosity could not but lead them to see and inquire after a person so very extraordinary, and who made such great pretensions. And we perceive in this letter,