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Two things have induced the Editor to publish this Volume of Sermons, viz. First, the earnest and repeated solicitations of some of the Author's particular friends. They knew his worth; they had been edified by his mi. nistry ; and though he be dead they desired still to hear him speak. Secondly, A persuasion that the work will be useful to plain people in general, as well as gratifying to those who knew and esteemed the Author.
The style is his own, as every one who knew him will perceive. He did not affect to be a man of learning ; nor did he study composition ; but wrote his sermons, as he preached them, with the utmost freedom and simplicity.
The reader will perceive that some words and phrases very frequently occur : this, it must be allowed, is a defect in a writer ; on which account the Editor has taken the liberty occasionally to expunge words and sentences; yet not so as to affect the peculiar character of the style, or alter the sense ; deeming it best for the author to appear in his own dress.
To introduce the author to those who have not been personally acquainted with him, and to perpetuate in the families of his friends a memorial of the Lord's gracious dealings with him; which, it is hoped, may be useful to posterity, the following Memoir is prefixed to the Sermons;
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R. JOHN PAWSON was born in Thorhet, a vil
lage near Leeds; in Yorkshire, Not. 12, 1737. His parents were reputable members of the established church, and regularly attended public worship, but were strangers to the power of godliness. However, they had, (as he observes in the memoirs he published of himself and his Father's family) fome degree of the fear of God; and according to the light they had, trained up their children in the instruction and discipline of the Lord. They taught them to say their prayers, and the church catechism; obliged them constantly to go to church, and restrained them from open sin. Mr. Pawson, after his conversion was thankful to God for parental restraints ia early life, as thereby he was prevented from running into various evils, • When about fifteen years old, he was sent to Huit to learn his business (Architecture) with his brother-in-law.. He was then remarkably serious, loved retirement, went to Church constantly, and met on Sunday evenings with a fociety of serious people in the vestry of the High-Church.
At that time, however, he was unacquainted with the leading doetrines of the gospel, and the way of salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. He appears, indeed, from his own account afterwards; to have possessed, to a considera. ble degtee, à pharisaical spirit. He judged himself to be a right good christian, and had not a doubt but he should be happy with God for ever. “ He was alive without the Law once, but when the commandment came, sin revived and he died."
Mr. Pawson's conversion, and the circumstances which led to, accompanied, and followed it, are so highly interesting and instructive, that it would be improper to withhold them froin the reader. They illustrate one of the most common methods in which the Holy Spirit works a saving change in the human heart. These things will be related nearly in his own words:
“ When I was about eighteen years of age,” says Mr. P. “I fell into company that conversed much about the Methodists, against whom I was exceedingly prejudiced ; believing then to be ignorant, vain, and wicked people; therefore I had not the least desire to be acquainted with them, nor had I any curiosity, so as to wish to hear them, or read any thing they had published.” Though importuned to hear the Methodist preachers in Hall, where he then resided; he did not comply. Once, indeed, as he in forms us, he felt a desire to hear them, and one evening he went to the door of the poor, obscurce place in which they then preached; but after walking round the house, he returned home, and thought no more of the Methodists for several years. "
How often are the trords of the Lord by the Prophet! verified ! (I will bring the blind by a way which they know not; I will lead thein in paths which they have not kħown; I will make darkness light before them, and crooked things straight' Isaii
. X*xxii. 16. In the year 1758, being then in the twenty-first year of i his age, two sermons preached in the Old Church, in Leeds, by the Rev. Henryi Crooke, curate of Hunslet, fell into his hands, which were, utider God, the means of bringing him to the knowledge of the truth. The following is his own account.
** These Sermons," says "he, ** were so exceedinglý cried against, and the minister so ridiculed, that is self-defence he pube lished them inttre name of the Lord." Here I may justly stand and admire the wisdom and goodness of God. It was in reading these tery.sermons that my mind was enlightened, and my judgment.rightly informed respecting the way of salvation by faith in the Redeemer of mankind. One of these sermons was upon Isa. xxix. II. And the
all is become unto you as the words of a book that ris, sealed, &c. in wbich he proved the necessity of divine illumination, and that the scriptures are a sealed book both to the learned, and unlearned. The other is