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TO THE

YOUNG PERSONS

OF THE AUDITORY AND SOCIETY

UNDER MY STATED MINISTERIAL CARE,

THIS SECOND EDITION

OF THESE TEN SERMONS,

AT FIRST PREACHED AND PUBLISHED

WITH A PECULIAR VIEW TO THEIR EDIFICATION,

IS NOW

WITH THE MOST CORDIAL PRAYERS

FOR THEIR TEMPORAL AND ETERNAL HAPPINESS

INSCRIBED BY

THEIR MOST AFFECTIONATE FRIEND,

AND FAITHFUL SERVANT

IN THE BONDS OF OUR COMMON LORD,

P. DODDRIDGE

PREFACE.

THE ten following Sermons were at first preached (in the year 1735,) and published at the desire of William Coward, Esq. with some peculiar regard to the young persons under my care. God hath been pleased to give them such acceptance in the world, that I cannot but hope, they have been made useful ; and therefore I shall not make an apology for complying with the request of a great number of friends, some of them at great distances from each other, in publishing this second edition ; which has been ready for the press a considerable time, though a series of accidents prevented its being sooner dispatched.

I have in one place and another made several additions, [which are distinguished by crotchets,) especially in the three last sermons, which I have studied to make as plain, and as comprehensive as possible ; and knowing the vast iinport. ance of the subject, have spared no pains to finish them.

I purpose, before I publish the third volume of my Family Expositor, to perform the promise I made in the first, by adding to these three sermons on the Evidence of Christianity, a few more on the Inspiration of the New Testament, and on the usefulness particularly of its historical contents. But providence has for the present unexpectedly called me out to some other labours, which I hope may be an equivalent to the public for the delay of these.

My Sermons on Regeneration are now in the press; and the importunity of one of the greatest and best of friends to whom nothing is to be denied*, has engaged me to attempt a farther prosecution of that important subject, under the title of The Rise and Progress of the Divine Life in the Soul. I mention this undertaking, chiefly with a view of recommending myself to the prayers of my many christian friends, while I am pursuing it; and so much the rather, as according to the plan, which with my friend's assistance I have drawn of it, I perceive it will be a work of as great variety and difficulty, as any of a practical nature in wbich I have ever been engaged.

If any ask, why I publish so many things on these practical subjects, so often handled by a variety of writers; I answer in a few words, with all simplicity, as before him to whom I am shortly to render an account of all my actions and views, “ Because I know the gospel to be true, and through divine grace I feel in my heart, an ardent concern for the salvation of men's souls.” This renders such meditations my delight, and makes me desirous of, warning every man, and teaching every man, that I may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus. And in this view, as other cares appear trifling, so the limits of one congregation or country, and of the little time that I must expect, to spend in life, seem too narrow. Oh that it were possible to speak to the ends of the earth, and to the end of time, those important truths which are employing my pen! I know, such plain things will be neglected and despised by many; but I am as sure, there are many others, who thirst for them and relish them. And as I endeavour to write on the common general principles of christianity, and not in the narrow spirit of any particular party, I bless God I have the pleasure to see my writings, imperfect as they are, favoured by many excellent persons of different denominations; and I hope therefore, they may be a means of spreading a serious and candid spirit, which I am sure it is my most earnest labour and prayer that they may.

To intend well, is a foundation of the most solid happiness in life ; and to be rightly understood in those intentions, is one of its most sensible delights. The malignity of sone tempers will put a sinister interpretation on the most upright and the most benevolent undertakings; but I am persuaded, that where God is pleased

* The Reverend Dr. Watts.

PREFACE.

The ten following Sermons were at first preached (in the year 1735,) and pube lished at the desire of William Coward, Esq. with some peculiar regard to the young persons under my care. God hath been pleased to give them such acceptance in the world, that I cannot but hope, they have been made useful; and therefore I shall not make an apology for complying with the request of a great number of friends, some of them at great distances from each other, in publishing this second edition; which has been ready for the press a considerable time, though a series of accidents prevented its being sooner dispatched.

I have in one place and another made several additions, (which are distinguished by crotchets,] especially in the three last sermons, which I have studied to make as plain, and as comprehensive as possible ; and knowing the vast iinport. ance of the subject, have spared no pains to finish them.

I purpose, before I publish the third volume of my Family Expositor, to per. form the promise I made in the first, by adding to these three sermons on the Evidence of Christianity, a few more on the Inspiration of the New Testament, and on the usefulness particularly of its historical contents. But providence has for the present unexpectedly called me out to some other labours, which I hope may be an equivalent to the public for the delay of these.

My Sermons on Regeneration are now in the press; and the importunity of one of the greatest and best of friends to whom nothing is to be denied*, has engaged me to attempt a farther prosecution of that important subject, under the title of The Rise and Progress of the Divine Life in the Soul. I mention this undertaking, chiefly with a view of recommending myself to the prayers of my many christian friends, while I am pursuing it; and so much the rather, as according to the plan, which with my friend's assistance I have drawn of it, I perceive it will be a work of as great variety and difficulty, as any of a practical nature in which I have ever been engaged.

If any ask, why I publish so many things on these practical subjects, so often handled by a variety of writers; I answer in a few words, with all simplicity, as before him to whom I am shortly to render an account of all my actions and views, “ Because I know the gospel to be true, and through divine grace I feel in my heart, an ardent concern for the salvation of men's souls.” This renders such meditations my delight, and makes me desirous of, warning every man, and teaching every man, that I may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus. And in this view, as other cares appear trifling, so the limits of one congregation or country, and of the little time that I must expect, to spend in life, seem too narrow. Ob that it were possible to speak to the ends of the earth, and to the end of time, those important truths which are employing my pen! I know, such plain things will be neglected and despised by many; but I am as sure, there are many others, who thirst for them and relish them. And as I endeavour to write on the common general principles of christianity, and not in the narrow spirit of any particular party, I bless God I have the pleasure to see my writings, imperfect as they are, favoured by many excellent persons of different denominations; and I hope therefore, they may be a means of spreading a serious and candid spirit, which I am sure it is my most earnest labour and prayer that they may.

To intend well, is a foundation of the most solid happiness in life ; and to be rightly understood in those intentions, is one of its most sensible delights. The m

malignity of some tempers will put a sinister interpretation on the most upright and the most benevolent undertakings; but I am persuaded, that where God is pleased

* The Reverend Dr. Watts.

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