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veyed through different Inftruments to the Knowledge of the World.
Fifthly, IN a PERSUASIVE and CONVINCING manner: and that these ways.
1. BRINGING DIVINE TRUTHS "down to our CAPACITY; clothing SPIRITUAL MATTER in familiar Expreffions and "Similitudes; that so they might have the ea"fier Admiffion into our Minds.
2. PROPOUNDING things as our "INTEREST, which are our DUTY: thence "God fo frequently in Scripture recommends our DUTIES to us, under all thofe Motives " which are wont to have the greatest FORCE on the Minds of Men; and annexeth_gracious PROMISES to our PERFORMANCE of them, "and those of the most weighty and concern
ing Things. Of GRACE, FAVOUR, PROTEC"TION, DELIVERANCE, Audience of PRA<< YERS, and ETERNAL HAPPINESS: And if "these will not prevail with Men, what Mo"tives will?
3. COURTING us to Obedience, when " he might not only COMMAND us to obey, PUNISH prefently for Difobedience. "Hence are all those most pathetical and af"fectionate Strains we read in Scripture. 0 "that there were fuch an Heart within them, "that they would fear me, and keep all my "Commandments, always, that it might go well “with them, and with their Children after them!
"THE Scriptures may be confidered as a "RULE of LIFE, or as a Law of GOD, which
" is given for the Government of the Lives of "Men: and therein, the Excellency of it lies " in the Nature of the Duties, and the Encouragements to the Practice of them.
"First, IN the NATURE of the DUTIES re"quired, which are moft becoming God to REQUIRE; moft reasonable for us to PER
"1. MOST becoming God to REQUIRE ; as they are most suitable and agreeable to "the DIVINE NATURE: the Imitation of " which in our Actions is the Subftance of our Religion. IMITATION of him in his GooDNESS and HOLINESS, by our conftant En"deavours of MORTIFYING SIN, and growing "in GRACE and PIETY. In his GRACE and MERCY, by our kindness to all Men; FORGIVING the Injuries Men do unto us; doing GOOD to our greatest Enemies. In his JusTICE and EQUITY; by DOING as we would "be DONE by, and keeping a Confcience void of Offence, towards God and towards Men.
(6 2. THEY are most reasonable for us "to perform, in that God requires nothing "but what is apparently Man's Intereft to do: "God prohibits nothing but what will DE"STROY him, if he doth it; fo that the Com"mands of the SCRIPTURES are very JUST and "C REASONABLE.
"Secondly, THE Encouragements are more " than proportionable to the Difficulty of O"bedience. God's Commands are in them"felves easy, and most fuitable to our Na
<< tures. What more RATIONAL for a CREA"TURE, than to OBEY his MAKER? All the "Difficulty of Religion arifeth from the COR"RUPTION of Nature. Now God, to encourage Men to CONQUER the DIFFICULTIES "arifing thence, hath propounded the strong"eft Motives, and moft prevailing Arguments " to OBEDIENCE.
"SUCH are the Confiderations of God's "LOVE and GOODNESS MANIFESTED to the "World, by fending his Son into it, to DIE "for SINNERS, and to give them an EXAMPLE, "which they are to follow; and by his Readi"nefs through him to PARDON the Sins, and cc ACCEPT the Perfons of fuch, who fo receive " him as to walk in him; and by his PROMI"SES of Grace to ASSIST them in the wrestling with the Enemies of their Salvation. "AND to all thefe, add that GLORIOUS "and UNCONCEIVABLE Reward, which God "hath PROMISED to all thofe who fincerely OBEY him: And by these things, we see how "much the ENCOURAGEMENTS over-weigh "the DIFFICULTIES; and that none can make "the leaft Pretence that there is not Motive SUFFICIENT to down weigh the TROUBLES " which attend the Exercife of OBEDIENCE to "the Will of God.
"SO that we see what a peculiar Excellency "there is in the Scriptures, as a RULE of LIFE, "above all the Precepts of meer MORALISTS; "the Foundation of Obedience being laid deeper in Man's Obligation to ferve his MAKER, the practice of Obedience being car"ried higher in those most HOLY PRE
"CEPTS, which are in Scripture the REWARD " of OBEDIENCE; being incomparably greater "than what Men are able to CONCEIVE, much "lefs to PROMISE OF BESTOW.
"THE Excellency of the Scriptures appears, as they contain in them a COVENANT "of GRACE, or the. Transactions between "God and Man, in order to his ETERNAL "HAPPINESS. The SCRIPTURES contain in "them the Magna Charta of HEAVEN, an ACT "of PARDON with the ROYAL ASSENT of "Heaven, a PROCLAMATION of GOOD-WILL " from God towards Men.
"AND can we then fet too great a Va "lue on that which contains all the remark"able Paffages between GoD and the SOULS of "Men, in order to their FELICITY, from the "BEGINNING of the WORLD? Is God fo good to Men as to this PRESENT LIFE; and can we think, if Man's Soul be IMMORTAL, as we have proved it is; or is it poffible to imagine that Man should be HAPPY in ano"ther World, without God's PROMISING it, " and PRESCRIBING Conditions in order to it? "WHAT RECORDS are there in the World "that can in the leaft vye with the SCRIP TURES, as to the giving fo juft an Account "of all the Tranfactions between GOD and "MEN, from the Foundation of the WORLD? "Which gives us all the Steps, Methods, and "WAYS, whereby God hath made known his "MIND and WILL to the World, in order to "Man's ETERNAL SALVATION.
"IT remains only then, that we ADORE "and MAGNIFY the GOODNESS of God, in making known his WILL to us; and that "we fet a VALUE and ESTEEM on the Scriptures, as on the only AUTHENTICK Inftru"ments of that GRAND CHARTER of Peace "which God hath revealed, in order to Man's "ETERNAL HAPPINESS.
TO this, I think, it may not be improper to add a few Paragraphs contained in the DE·DICATION to the faid Book.
"IT may juftly feem ftrange, that the "Chriftian Religion, which contains nothing "in it but what is truly NOBLE, and most RA"TIONAL and PLEASING to the SPIRITS of all "GOOD MEN, fhould yet fuffer fo much in its "Efteem in the World, through those strange "and uncouth Vizards it is represented un"der: Some accounting the LIFE and PRAC"TICE of it, as it fpeaks of SUBDUING Our "Wills to the Will of God (which is the Sub"ftance of all RELIGION) a Thing too Low "and MEAN for their RANK and CONDITION "in the World; while others pretend a Quar"rel against the PRINCIPLES of it, as UNSA"TISFACTORY to human Reafon.
"IT is hard to define which is moft IN JURIOUS to it, that which questions the PRIN CIPLES, or that which defpifeth the PRAC"TICE of it.