« PreviousContinue »
Southern District of New-York, ss. B.
E IT REMEMBERED, that on the fourteenth day of September, in the thirty
ninth year of the Independence of the United States of America, Daniel Hirt and Thomas WARE, of the said district, have deposited in this office the title of a book, the right whereof they claim as Proprietors, in the words and figures following, to wit: “Sermons on various occasions, and most of them on the principal Subjects of Genu
ine Christianity. By Joseph Benson, A. M. “I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God unto salvation
to every one that believeth.... Rom. i. 16. “I have believed, and therefore have I spoken....2 Cor. iv. 13.” In conformity to the act of the Congress of the United States, entitled " an Act for the encouragement of Learning, by securing the copies of Maps, Charts, and Books to the authors and proprietors of such copies, during the times therein mentioned.” And also to an Act, entitled “an Act, supplementary to an Act, entitled an Act for the encouragement of Learning, by securing the copies of Maps, Charts, and Books to the authors and proprietors of such copies, during the times therein mentioned, and extending the benefits thereof to the arts of designing, engraving, and etching historical and other prints."
THE following discourses, delivered on different occasions, and written after their delivery, with such alterations and enlargements as were requisite, and published at the request of many who heard them, have (most of them) been for some years before the public. Some of them, as those on the Second Coming of Christ, and the Future Misery of the Wicked, and on Sanctification, have gone through sundry editions, and many thousands of them have been circulated in different parts of this kingdom, especially among the members of the Methodist societies and congregations. And if I may give credit to the information I have received, the divine blessing has attended the reading of them to many individuals, and most of those into whose hands they have fallen, have signified their approbation of them. They are therefore here collected into one volume, at the request of our last Conference, with a view to their preservation when their author is no more. Thus, not only my friends, and those that have been profited by my ministry, inay have a memorial of me when I am removed out of their sight; but, what may be of much more moment, when dead I may thuś speak to those of them that shall survive me ; and perhaps also to many others that never knew
face in the flesh, but into whose hands this book
Most of those truths of experimental and practical Christianity, (the only Christianity that will afford any one comfort at a dying hour,) to which I have believed myself to be called of God to bear testimony, and which, in conjunction with my brethren, I have been labouring, for upwards of thirty years, to propagate in most parts of Great Britain, are here explained and enforced according to the best ability God hath given me. The end I have bad in view, in writing and publishing these sermons, is the same that I have pursued through the whole course of my ministry, and that is, simply, and only to glorify God in the reformation and salvation of my fellow-creatures. I have therefore not studied elegance of style, or the oratorical ornaments of speech, because, if I could have attained to this excellency, and have spared the time which this kind of composition would have cost me, I had no reason to suppose that it would either have recommended these sermons to such, as it was probable, would peruse them, or have given the truths contained in them a greater influence on their minds. But I
WOR 15 FER
have endeavoured to write, exactly as I always wish to preach, in a plain, clear, and intelligible manner; and with such a proper arrangement of the matter, and such a connexion of the parts of each discourse, as seemed best calculated to assist the conceptions and memories of my readers, I have studied also to write with some degree of force and energy, especially in the applicatory part of each sermon. How far I have succeeded, must be left to the public to judge. I am, however, not without hope, that 'as I am conscious I have written, as I trust I generally speak, from the heart, so that some part at least of these plain and unadorned discourses will reach the hearts of those readers, that receive the truth as it is in Jesus, with attentive and unprejudiced minds, and in a spirit of prayer.
This last observation is of vast importance. For if, as St. Paul declares, “ The natural man discerneth not the things of God, nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned;"_if “ The things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God," it is not to be supposed that these truths of spiritual and experimental religion, which are here declared, will be either discerned or relished, by those who do not sincerely and fervently pray
for “the Spirit of wisdom and revelation,” any more than by those who do not endeavour to devest their minds of prejudice, and to consider seriously what was advanced. This therefore, I cannot but most earnestly recommend to all my readers.
I must also advise them rather to read these discourses in the order in which they are here placed, than in any other. For although they were neither written, nor first published in this order, yet I believe they will be read with most advantage according to it; as each preceding sermon will thus, in general, prepare the mind to understand and relish the following, and each following sermon will illustrate and confirm the preceding.
New-Chapel, City-Road, London,
Jan. 26th, 1802.
The second Discourse on the same Subject.