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P R E FACE.
HE following discourses were
preached in the united Churches of Christ Church and St. Peter, in the City of Philadelphia, of which the author was appointed assistant minister in the
year 1759, and to the rectorship of which he was elected in the year 1775.
The reader will find in them no display of genius or of erudition. To the former, the authour hath no claim : of the latter, he contents himself with as much as is competent to the discharge of his pastoral duty. His divinity, he trusts, is that of the BIBLE: to no other Standard of Truth can he venture to
appeal. Sensible, however, of his own
fallibility, he wishes not to obtrude his peculiar sentiments ; nor to have them received any further, than they carry with them that only fair title to reception, a conviction of their truth and usefulness. From his own Heart he hath written to the Hearts of others; and if any of his readers find not THERE the Ground of his doctrines, they are, surely, at liberty to pass them by, if they do it with Christian Candour, and to leave it to time and their own reflections, to discover that Ground or not,
UNIVERSAL BENEVOLENCE he confiders as the SUBLIME of religion ; the true Taste for which, can only be derived from the Fountain of INFINITE Love, by inward and spiritual communications. The mind, that is possessed of this true Taste, whatever its peculiarity of opinion may be, cannot be very “ far from the Kingdom of God.”
* God is LOVE; and he that dwelleth “ in Love, dwelleth in God, and God “ in him.” One transgression of the great Law of Love, even in the minutest instance, must appear more heinous in the Sight of the God of Love, than a thousand errors in matters of doctrine or opinion.
If the reader peruses these volumes under the influence of such sentiments, it is not likely, that he will be offended with any singularities of diction, or any inelegant and colloquial expressions he may now and then meet with. Much less will his censure be incurred by the constant use of SCRIPTURAL Ideas, and SCRIPTURAL Language, in prefer-, ence to what are called Moral and PHILOSOPHICAL.
Deviations from the Simplicity of EvANGELICAL TRUTH, have too often been occasioned by deviations from the Simplicity of EvanGELICAL LANGUAGE, A Christian
ought never to be “ ashamed of the “ GOSPEL OF CHRIST, which is the “ Power of God unto Salvation,” but should always speak of Christian Truths by Christian Names.
The revisal and correction of these discourses have relieved the authour's mind from much of that anxiety and dejection, which a long absence from his family and his churches had occasioned. And he is now happy in the thought, that these volumes will ere long reach his native country, and revive the memory of his labours of love among a people, with whom he enjoyed a reciprocation of kindness and affection, which for eighteen years had known no abatement or interruption.
He most gratefully acknowledges the kind and honourable reception he hath met with since his arrival in England; the chearfulness and generosity with
which persons of all ranks have honoured his publication, and the affectionate zeal of his friends, relations, and connexions, in undertaking and completeing his subscription, without giving him the trouble of solliciting a single name.
To his most ingenious and worthy Friend and Countryman, BENJAMIN West, Esq. History Painter to his Majesty, he is happy to acknowledge himself indebted for the elegant designs, taken from two of his most capital paintings, which are placed as frontispieces to these volumes.
To his dear and valuable friend, the Authour of the late accurate and elegant Translation of THOMAS à KEMPIS, he is sincerely thankful for his kind and chearful advice and assistance, in conducting the whole publication, to which the authour's inexperience in printing, as well as his frequent and neceffary ab