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men must be totally ignorant of the Gospel, who can reject and vilify it.

I shall conclude with the saying of an excellent person;

" Whoever hath heard or read of the Christian religion, if he wish well to mankind, let him stand up and bless that doctrine ; and let him say of it, as Solomon of the excellent woman; “Many daughters have done virtuously, but thou excellest them



Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty ; who art, and who wast, and who art to come!

Thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are, and were created.

Praised be thy name and thy goodness for ever, in that thou hast made known to us, that thy pleasure, thy supreme glory, consisteth in promoting the virtuous improvements of thy reasonable offspring, especially of us thy feeble offending creatures of mankind; and thereby to fit us for a happiness in thy nearer presence.

We thank thee also, O thou, the light of life, the joy of thy creation! that thou hast delivered us from all dark fears of danger


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from invisible powers, and from every gloomy apprehension about thee, and thy secret unknown decrees concerning us: for thou hast revealed to us by Jesus, our Lord and Master, that all is fair and clear above, that thou art the equal and impartial lover of all thy children, and intendest the happiness of all.

Suffer us not to abuse this thine unspeakable goodness, and to do evil because thou art merciful and gracious, lest evil befall us from thee, and thou give us up, for our just punishment, to a hardened unsearching mind.

But visit us, O Lord, by thy good spirit, by which thou art present to, and directest and upholdest all things ; that thy benignity and loving kindness may sink deep into our hearts, and powerfully influence us to the fear and love of thee, and to obey thy sacred laws, which thou requirest of us only for our good.

Finally, O Lord our God! whatever be our state and condition on this first

stage being, however low, destitute, and despised of men ; whilst we enjoy the light of thy countenance and walk in thy ways,-make us not only to be contented, but to rejoice in and to vindicate thy dealings towards us ; for that whatever thou appointest is best for us,


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and thou hast assured us in thy holy word that all things shall work together for good to those that love thee.

Unto Tbee, O Father supreme ! who art the only living and true God, be praise, thanksgiva ing, adoration, and an increasing obedience, by us, and all thine intelligent creation, for ever and ever!

December 27, 1778.



2 Cor. xii. 8.

For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it

might depart from me.

The apostle here refers to a distressful suffering, of a very singular kind, with which God had visited him, and from which he had prayed earnestly to be delivered. It is proposed to treat the whole of the difficult passage, which relates to the subject; as, I apprehend, the unfolding of it will be of service to the right un, derstanding of other parts of the sacred writings; and also furnish some useful reflections to make one truly wise and good, which is the prime end of these our assemblings of ourselves together.

But it will assist us in our inquiry, if we first take a brief view of the character of this church of Christians at Corinth, and St. Paul's connexion with it.


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