« ForrigeFortsett »
in them, much above the common rate of Writers. And though these are written ex tempore, and in such a manner as hath been said before, yet the matter of them is for the most part such, as he had before well digested, and, as a Scribe in trueted to the Kingdom of Heaven, bad treasured up in his heart, and out of this good treasure of bis heart, and the abundance of it, be producerh these good things; things which he looked upon as of greatest concern, and most worth his serious Consideration, and bad accordingly weighed and considered. And for the Style, it is suitable to the Matter, significant, perfpicuous, and manly; bis Words are Spirit and Life, and carry Evidence and Demonftration with them, moral and experimental Demonstration : Vox non ex ore, sed ex pectore emiffa. And if we take these Writings altogether, and weigh them duly and candidly without any vain bumour of critical and pedantick Cenforiousness, we may therein no less observe the worth and excellence of their Author, especially considering in what manner they were written, than in his more elaborate Works: and being written and puba lished in this manner, they do more evidently demonstrate the reality of bis boneft, virtuous, and pious Principles, than had they been designed to be published, and been by himself; which perbaps may render them not less acceptable to some Readers, not of the lower rank.
So that considering the Writings themselves, I could not think that there was any thing therein, whether of matter or form, which could render the Publication of them injurious or prejudicial to the Author in the least in any of the respects aforementioned. Yet notwithstanding, for the greater security, I thought it might be fit, and but just, to give this true and ingenuous account both of the Occasion and Manner of his Writing, and of the Publication of them without his Privity and Knowledge. And this I conceived might be a juft and sufficient means to lecure the Author against all Exceptions, as that which would wholly acquit him in the Judgment of all reasonable Men, and transfer the blame, if any should be, to my self, which yet was no more than what I must have resolucd to have undergone bad they been my own Writings which I had published.
It remained therefore only to consider how this might be done, as without Injury in orber Respects, so without Offence to the
worthy Author. And for this, two things did not a little ena
seleves, get more prevalent with many.' 3. And because he is well known to be a Person of extraordinary and admirable San gacity, Dexterity, and Impartiality in the Search and the Dif covery of the Truth of Matters in question, and hath (though that be net so generally known) with much Care and Diligence, considered and examined the Reasons and Evidences, both natural and moral, of Religion ; these Writings, which to plainly manifeft, though upon another occasion, bis Sense and Judgment of the Christian Religion, might be of good use to ease many of the Doubts and Scruples of some Persons, and to check the vain and inconsiderate Presumption of others; about Religion. And bis Judgment in the Case is the more considerable, as in respeet of his great Ability, and the Care and Diligence which he hath used in the Examination of it; so in respect of bis Freedom from all those things, whether of natural Constitution, or of Profession, or of worldly Interest, which may be by some suspected to prejudice or byass the Judgment of others. And therefore I doubt not but some, who have a great respect to his Persox, and may perhaps not have the same I boughts of Religion which be bath, when they should see bis Judgment in the case, might by the Asthority thereof be moved to a farther and better confideration of it. 'Tis true, the Life of Religion is very visible in his Life and A&tions, which are all the genuine Product of a sound and well grounded Perswafon of the Truth of that Faith which overcometh the World, and bath indeed set him much above it; yet because common Prudence may move a sober and considerate Man to an external Conformity to so reasonable a Religion, and to the Practice of those excellent Virtues which it requires, these Writings may possibly give more satisfaction to some concerning his Judgment in the case, than his Life and Aktions; and in that respect they may possibly come forth with some Advantage, being, written and published in this manner : for here we may read bis most intimate and retired Thoughts.
And for these Reasons I much desired to have prefixed his Name, or at least to buve let the Reader know who he is; but I know that that would certainly have been displeasing to bim, and therefore having made so bold with him in the Publication of these bis Writings, I would not presume farther to discover who he is, though for so just and boneft ends ; but
have purposely left out some Passages which would too plainly bave made him known.
Being far distant from the Press, there may possibly be fome few Typographical Errata's, more than otherwise there should have been: but I hope that Care bath been taken, that they are not many, nor very considerable ; but that the Sense will enable tbe Reader to amend them.
Ut Nox longa quibus mentitur amica, Diéfque
Of the Consideration of our
And the BENEFITS of it.
Deut. XXII. 29. O shut they were wise, that they understood this, that they would consider their Latter End!
probably thought, that the principal Inten. tion of this Wish of Moses was, Ihat the People of Israel had a due Consideration of their final Rejection;
the ten Tribes for their Idolatry, and the two Tribes for their Crucifying of the Messias ; and not only of that State of Rejection, but of the Causes of it, namely, Idolatry and Rejection of the Messias ; which Consideration would have made them wile and prudent to avoid those great Apoftacies which should occasion fo terrible a Desertion and Rejection by God.
But certainly the Words contain an evident Truth, with relation to every particular Perfon, and to that latter End that is common to all Mankind, namely, their latter end by death, and separation of the Soul and Body; the due consideration whereof is a great part of Wisdom, and a great means to attain and improve it; and very many of the Sins and Follies of Mankind, as they do in a great measure proceed from the want of an attentive and terious Confideration of it ; so would they be in a great measure cured by it.
It is the most certain, known, experienced Truth in the World, that all Men mují die; that the time of that I eath is uncertain ; that yet molt certainly it will come, and that within the compass of co long time: Tho the time