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is certain; fo is his divine juftice. We fhall prove, therefore, from the nature of the foul, the almoft univerfal confent of mankind, the unequal diftribution of the good things of this life, and from other substantial, and we hope convincing arguments that there must be a life after this, where the just and upright inan, will meet with a full compenfation for all his troubles and misfortunes; and he that is habitually wicked will be configned over to fuch inexpreffible torments, as his wilful oppofition to an offended Creator must evidently deferve; fo that a man fhall fay; verily, there is a reward for the righteous; doubtless, there is a God, that judgeth the earth.
In our proof of the authority of the facred fcriptures, we shall take notice of their infinite univerfal importance, as well as the style and manner in which they are delivered; then fhew that the books of Mofes were the fource from whence all nations drew what little notions they had of God, the creation of the world, and other remarkable events; that the wifeft and beft men in all ages of the world, who had the opportunity of reading, have not only admired, but admitted them to be infallibly true. We shall fhew you that feal of God affixed to them, the prediction of future events:—that the Prophet Isaiah in particular foretold, not only the birth of a great king many years before it happened; but even his actions; the destruction of that great and proud city of Babylon, and the very name of the destroyer:-we shall demonstrate, that no Being but an omniscient God could poffibly have forfeen or foretold fuch contingencies; and the conclufion will be very natural; namely, that the facred fcriptures must be written by divine inspiration.
From thence we fhall proceed to the proof of the Chriftian Religion from its completion of the antient prophecies; from its ftupendous miracles; from the rapid progress it made in so short a time, and its uninterrupted continuance ever fince; from the indifputable testimony of men, who abandoned every thing, life itself, in defence of a doctrine, of the truth whereof they had every poffible evidence.
evidence. And we have a good hope, when these things are duly weighed, you will be convinced of the abfolute neceffity there is for every one of us to follow the precepts of our most holy religion; to serve God with all our fouls, and with all our strength; to be constant in the due discharge of our public as well as private duties; to be honest and juft in all our dealings; to love our neighbours as ourselves; to do to all men, as we would they fhould do unto us -In a word, to work out our salvation with fear and trembling.
In the profecution of these few promised discourses, we are determined to spare no pains to be well informed ourselves; nor do we intend to offer any arguments which are not folid and fubftantial, or which at least shall not appear fo to us; always making choice of such as are most obvious and inconteftible; and adapting them, as much as poffible, to the capacity of every hearer.
To conclude, we must beg your patience and attention; entreat you for once at least, to lay aside all prejudice and prepoffeffion, and to judge fairly and impartially; for prejudice is too apt to blind and captivate the judgment of the wifeft of men and above all, we must beg you to confider, that fome doctrines concerning the moft high God, and the manner of his relation to us,-the myfteries of religion, must neceffarily be above the capacities and comprehenfions of the most learned and fagacious. And therefore if we should not be able to explain, or give perfect fatisfaction in some particulars, we hope you will distinguish between want of ability in us, and want of evidence in the things themselves. It is fufficient if we prove them to be certainly and infallibly true, though incapable of explaining how they are fo: fo that our ignorance and imperfect performance can be no ways prejudicial to the Chriftian caufe, which we have not undertaken to defend out of any vain conceit; nor do we flatter ourselyes, that we shall be able to bring ftronger arguments than have been already urged in defence of so just and good a caufe; but we must acknowledge, that
we indulge a hope of fetting thefe truths in fo clear a light, as may be of service to that part of our auditors at least, who have little time for reading, and very few other opportunities of being inftructed in the doctrines of their most holy religion, than fuch as are afforded them by a regular attendance on public worship. It is, therefore, a duty highly incumbent on us to fow fuch feed, as we shall judge most conducive to forward the work of falvation; and it is both your duty and your interest to attend constantly and diligently to these things, upon which your future welfare so very much depends. Surely no one, who firmly believes that he shall live either in the most exalted pleasures, or in the most exquifite torments forever and ever,-will stand in need of being entreated to lend the closest attention.
Now may it please the divine Majesty to give a bleffing to these our labours, that they my build up thofe in their most holy faith, who already believe; confirm and establish those who are wavering, and confute those, who obftinately oppofe his facred doctrine!— This is the fatisfaction we propofe; this the end of our ambition and to confess freely, I feel myself animated by the glorious profpect before me. For " they that be wife fhall fhine as the brightness of the firmament, and they that turn many to righte"oufness, as the stars for ever and ever."
Let us join then in prayer together; and fay with our holy Church, "Bleffed Lord! who has caufed all holy fcriptures to be "written for our learning; grant that we may in such wife hear them, read, mark, learn, and inwardly digeft them, that by pa"tience and comfort of thy holy word, we may embrace, and ever "hold fast the bleffed hope of everlasting life, which thou haft
given us in our Saviour Jefus Chrift. Amen."