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man, the agencey of the Holy Spirit, and the nature and necessity of regeneration, and of that holiness without which no man shall see the Lord. On these subjects the author is not afraid of contradiction from those who are taught of God.
With respect to some other points which incidentally occur, he has endeavoured so to treat them as to avoid administering fuel to the flame of angry controversy. He is persuaded himself, and shall be happy to persuade his readers, that the remaining differences of opinion among those who truly understand and cordially believe the declarations of Scripture on the preceding articles, are neither so wide nor so important as they have been sometimes represented. Many of these differences are nearly verbal, and would cease, if due allowance was made for the imperfection of human language, and the effects of an accustomed phraseology, which often lead people to affix different ideas to the same expressions, or to express the same ideas in different words. And if, in some things, we cannot exactly agree, since we confess that we are all weak and fallible, mutual patience and forbearance would be equally becoming the acknowledgments we make, and the Gospel which we profess. We should thereby act in character, as the followers of Him who was compassionate to the infirmities and mistakes of his disciples, and taught them, not every thing at once, but gradually, as they were able to bear.
The author ought not to be very solicitous, upon his own account, what reception his performance may meet with. The fashion of this world is passing away. The voice, both of applause and of censure, will soon be stifled in the dust. It is therefore but a small thing to be judged of man's judgment.* But conscious of the vast importance of the subject which he thus puts into the reader's hands, he cannot take leave of him without earnestly entreating his serious attention. The one principle which he assumes for granted, and which he is certain cannot be disproved, is, that the Bible is a revelation from God. By this standard he is willing that whatever he has advanced may be tried. If the Bible be true, we must all give an account, each one of himself, to the great and final Judge. That when we shall appear before his awful tribunal, we may be found at his right hand, accepted in the Beloved, is the author's fervent prayer, both for his readers and for himself.
London, 15th April, 1786.
* 1 Cor. iv. 6.
FIFTY EXPOSITORY DISCOURSES,
ON THE SERIES OF
WHICH FORM THE SUBJECT OF THE CELEBRATED
ORATORIO OF HANDEL.
PREACHED IN THE YEARS 1784 AND 1785,
IN THE PARISH CHURCH OF ST. MARY WOOLNOTH,
Unum pro multis dabitur caput. Virg.
For the love of Christ constraineth us; because we thus judge, that if one died for all
then were all dead; and that he died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them, and rose again.
2 Cor. v. 14, 15.
Oh, that they were wise, that they understood this! Deut. xxxii. 29.
TO THE PARISHIONERS
ST. MARY WOOLNOTH AND ST. MARY WOOLCHURCH HAW,
ARE AFFECTIONATELY INSCRIBED BY
AS A TESTIMONY OF HIS RESPECT FOR THEIR PERSONS,
HIS SOLICITUDE FOR THEIR WELFARE,
WHEN VIS PRESENT RELATION TO THEM,
AS THEIR MINISTER,
SHALL BE DISSOLVED.