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and providence, out of the world, who gave it ba; nor to employ it to their own destruction, by such Esrversion thereof, which must inevitably be the conuence, without timely and due repentance; but that z may apply themselves to him for true wisdom, who te eternal fountain of it, who would direct all their wights aright therein, then would they find a substantial
enduring happiness and satisfaction, in the honourable baghts and practice of true religion and virtue ; and
all vain and evil thoughts directly tended to the misar and destruction of mankind. a castly, if any expression in this short tract should prove
cessful to promote, in any measure, the contemplation he Divine Being; the consideration of man's duty to
his Almighty Creator, or to convince but one soul the error of his thoughts and ways; the author will ik himself richly rewarded for his endeavours, and revntly ascribe the glory and praise to God, the prime hor and mover of every good thing who is worthy
If we duly consider the nature of human understanding, as we shall necessarily be led to admire the wonderful author of so excellent a gift to mankind, according to the power and extent thereof; so shall we be forced to ac. knowledge its imperfection, not only where the nature of things exceeds its views, but also in tracing and explicating that evidence which many of them afford; but especially as to its influence in a moral respect, how subject it is to be obscured, and its faculties disabled by the riolence of those passions and affections with which human nature is too ordinarily agitated. So that man cannot but want some extraordinary assistance ; and lie under the greatest obligation to submit every faculty and affection to the direction and disposal of that infinite power and wisdom, which having so wonderfully constituted, can best preserve, and conduct him to a state of happiness.
Can it then be thought unrighteous in the Supremo Disposer of all things, so to have fashioned our natures, and ranged them (though above many other beings, yet) in such a state of dependence, ás continually to express his sovereign power and rectitude ? Since by our entire resignation to his divine hand, we may be transformed to a greater likeness of him, and have a spirit and nature super-induced of divine extraction from the Father of lights; whom to know and contemplate, through the revelation of his Son Jesus Christ (his infinite love to mankind) is eternal life and supreme happiness.
Which mystery, far above human understanding, he hath been pleased to reveal by his spirit, who searcheth the deep things of God, in order to work in us faith in, and the highest admiration of that exalted name, by whom he hath visited our low estate, and would redeem it in him, into the greatest dignity it is capable of. The particulars of whose incarnation, passion, resurrection, and ascension into eternal glory, though highly admirable,
ind which the blessed apostle, who had been an eye wit. ness of his glory, says, " The angels desire to look into,” 1 Pet. i. 12. can none of them however be perverted to a sense of being repugnant to reason; because not impossible to infinite love, or infinite power; who could abase himself from his glory, and be made flesh in a virgin; could work all miracles, and the greatest of all, the raising of himself from the dead; and could ascend
up where he was before. All which are agreeable to right reason, and appear so with ravishment to the enlightened and sanctified, especially with the evidence of the Holy Spirit, the Comforter, which confirmeth the humble believer in the saving faith and knowledge of these things to the end. And I am glad of this occasion to distin. guish to thee (ingenuous reader) that though no divine truths are contrary to natural reason; yet, as they far transcend it, they are not comprehensible by it, as other truths within the reach of its capacity are: as no nature below man, nor qualified with reason as he is, cạn possibly know as he knows. - Which observation is not of the least importance to us; for if it therefore follows, “ That no man knows the things of God, but by the Spirit of God,” i Cor. ii. 11, then can no man without the revelation of the same Spirit, know the mystery of the Divine Power by which he was created, and by which he must be eternally saved and blessed. Grace therefore (or the Divine Spirit, by its influence and inspiration) must be received and obeyed as an infallible oracle, if we would know and pursue those things which tend to our present and future happiness; as also the authority of the holy scriptures submitted to, as having proceeded from the same grace, of which they faithfully testify, and of that which is necessary to be by us believed and practised.
The excellency and necessity of which divine. record to himself, man certainly must acknowledge, when he considers, that that alone has given him an account of his own origin (which, what man could have known ?) And that he still may the better understand himself, of his lapse and corruption from that excellence and glory of his nature (in which he was created) by departing from
the truth into a fable and notion of independency of nature, and sufficiency of wisdom without God. So that he is become as the beasts which perish, as to the necessity of dissolution to his mortal part; and in his greatest natural honour, may, in that respect, be compared to them; which is sufficient to humble him under the sense of his weak elementary state, with all the glory and advantages that may attend it.
But if man will not be convinced of the imperfection and vanity of this nature, by the infirmities and miseries to which it is continually subject; or of the glory of the eternal majesty, by the infinite wonders thereof, throughoout the universe ; rejecting the testimony of his own senses, of every created thing, and of the scriptures of truth ; nor yet behold his glory in the appearance of the Saviour, which he reveals in every conscience: then must his blindness be concluded incurable, and his de struction unavoidable.