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The order, subordination, and mutual dependencies and reladions of personal, domestic, and public religion, are nicely flated, and judiciously discovered, and proper caveats entered againf beginning at the wrong end, as feldom missing to end cither in @postacy or division : which cannot be but very useful in the present juncture, when divifons so much abound, and dividing inclinations are so much aloft.
In a word, there is no part of the book but what is of high importance and great usefulness; which, joined with the effablished chara&er and reputation of the author, intitles it to a kind reception, and due perufal.
As these were the main prompters of the publishing the boak, folhey may be reckoned suficient arguments for a careful reading and improvement of it, now when published. It comes out with
little alteration, even as to words, as, they stood in the manuscript
, partly because it did not much need it, and partly out of veneration for the author, whose pulpit Skill and Ayle vias fo generally acceptable; yet it is not to be Supposed, but if it had
received a finishing Aroke from his own hand, for the press, it might have appeared more beautiful ; shough even under this want, it will be found, that neither method nor flyle is disagreeable, though popular, and just as prepared and delivered to his people.
May all that have encouraged the design of publishing the book, meet with the double reward of edification to their own fouls, and seeing it do much good to others. We live in a time when all helps and advantages need to be improved, for awakening secure finners, and bringing them under
Joul-uptaking inquiries about salvation, and stirring up Chriftians to the universal pra&ice of piety and godliness. And as the book has a plain tendency to these ends, go on and read it, and digeft and apply it, begging that
God may effe&ually bless and prosper it to those good ends for which it is designed,
A&S X. 29.-I ask therefore for what intent ye have sent
for me? AVING the formality of an introduction, I Mall W
Jay before you a few remarks for clearing the occasion of the apostle's using this question, and the reason why we made choice of this text at this time, for the subject of this discourse. And,
1. This chapter contains a large and particular account of one Cornelius, a Roinan centurion, or cap:ain of an hundred soldiers, his conversion to Christianity.
2. Cornelius, though by birth a Roman, was of the Jewisa religion, a profelyte. Thofe who, of other nations, embraced the true religion, associating themselves to the Jews, were called proselytes ; and they were either such as joined with the Jews in the whole rites of their religion, being circumcised as were the Jews, or such as adhered to the substantials of their religion, but remained uncircumcised. The former fort were called proselytes of righteousness, or of the covenant; the latter, profelytes of the gate. Interpreters seem to agree that Cornelius was a proselyte of the gate, one who owned the substance of reo ligion, but remained uncircumcised, and did not join in the whole of their worship.
3. This captain was a true convert before this discovery of the gospel came to him by the apostle : he was accepted of God, and therefore was not to be accounted unclean. Now, none save those who are converted can be accepted; for they that are in the flesh cannot please
God; and without faith it is impollible to please him ; for he that comes to him must believe that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him," Heb. xi. 6. Wherefore,
4. He, no doubi, leaned upon the promised Melliah, Jesus Christ, for his acceptance with God; since “ none can come to the Father but by him,” who is " the way, the truth, and the life," and wbo only can guide finners in their approaches to God.
5. God being a rewarder of such as diligently seek bim, did reward this man's faith and obedience with the gospelsevelation of his Son Jesus Christ ; whence he came to understand, that the Melliah he looked for was already come. His prayers and alıs-deeds are said to come up for a me. morial before God; not as if there had been any thing of merit in what was done or attained to, but to encourage others, and to discover the riches of God's bounty, in rewarding freely, according to his rich grace, the diligent improvement of light, with greater degrees of light and life; and this reward is not of debt, but of rich and forereign grace.
6. This saint, waiting for the confolation of Israel, has a vision from God, bidding him fend for the apostle Peter ; whence we may learn, that God has a great respect for his own institutions. The gospel.ininistry is of divine appointinent; and therefore the Lord refers Cornelius to it, though it had been no less easy to have discovered Christ to him in the vision.
7. Peter has a vision to the same purpose, removing such objections as might make him scruple: whence we may remark, that when the Lord designs good to a people, by a minister, he gives both the people clearness to call, and the minister clearners to come ; though not in such an extraordinary manner as this here made use of.
8. When the apostle, in compliance with Cornelius's call, and God's call, or rather the Lord's joining in the fame call with him, comes to the place where he was, the first question he puts to him is that which we have read to you : 1 ask therefore for what intent ye have sent for me? and this he doth, notwithstanding he had got some account of this from the servants who were sent for him by Cornelius. The words are in themselves plain ; and therefore we
thall not offer any explication of them, but lay before you this do&rine, which is palpably contained in them. Doct.“ A faithful gospel-minifter, coming anong a
people upon their call, will be very desirous to know what their designs in calling him were.” I ask therefore for what intent ye have sent for me ?
In discourfing this point, we shall enquire, I. W liat designs a people should have in calling a gospel. minister.
II. What way they ihould evidence there to be their de. figns.
III. Make some inquiry into the reasons of the doctrine. And, lastly, Apply ihe whole.
1. To begin with the first of these, The designs a people fhould have in calling a gospel-minister ;--they are many. We fhall endeavour to reduce them to a few. And,
1. A people should, in calling a gospel-minister, design to hear from him the whole counsel of God, in reference to their eternal salvation. This is the great business of gol. pel-ministers, to declare the whole counsel of God to there to whom they come, to keep nothing back from them that may be of use to them. So their comniillion runs, Matth. xxviii. 19, 20. “ Go ye therefore and teach all nations, baptifing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost ; teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you ; and lo, I am with you always even unto the end of the world. Amen."" And the great apostle of the Gentiles in that famous farewell fermon of his to the church of Ephesus, which we have recorded, A&s xx. from ver. 17. and downward, apo peals to the conscience of that people as to his faithfulness in fulfilling his commission in declaring to them the whole counsel of God, ver. 27. And in keeping back nothing that could be profitable to them, ver. 20.
Whoever would approve himself a faithful gospel-minister, must take care faithfully to discover to his hearers their loft and undone state by nature ; that they are all become guilty before God ; and that there is no oiher way of their obtaining access to him but through Jesus Christ, who is made of God to them who believe “ wisdom, righteousness, fan&tification,