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THE Bible is a book of such transcend
1 ent worth, and so happily suited to all the parts and purposes of the Christian life, that it can never be too much recommended to the world: Every thing that allures the world to peruse it, is a blessing to mankind, And though it is hard for our narrow capaci. ties to grasp, and take in the several diftin. guishing excellencies of it at one view, yet if we take a separate survey of the doctrines and duties, the promises and threatenings, the prophecies and histories, which are contained therein, each of them will afford us an awful or a delightful prospect, with lessons for special improvement.
THE worthy author of this Collection, whom I have long known with esteem and honour, has chosen to reduce all the most useful and important Promises of the word of God into order, and set them before us here. These are the most powerful motives
to duty; these are the constant food of a live ing Christian, as well as his highest cordials in a fainting hour. And in such a world as this, where duties perpetually demand our practice, and difficulties and trials are ever surrounding us, what can we do better than to treasure up the Promises in our hearts, which are the most effectual persuasives to fulfil the one, and sustain the other ? Here are laid up the true riches of a Christian, and his highest hopes on this side heaven.
The materials which are collected here are all divine, and the disposition of them is elegant and regular; so that it is an easy matter to find something suited to the frame of our souls, or our present wants on every occafion : And that soul who knows what a suitable promise is worth in an hour of darkness or temptation, will never think such a work as this, and such a various treasure, can have sufficient value set upon it.
This is such a piece as I dare put into the hands of every Christian, among all their divided fects and parties in the world. Here is no danger of error or mistake in point of orthodoxy, if the English be but truly translated from the facred originals. The noisy controversies of the age, which eat out the
vitals of true religion, have no room nor place here ; for these sentences are the pure word of God, without any mixtures of the wit or reasonings of man.
It is the least thing that I can do to shew my gratitude to the pious Author of this Collection, to tell the world how much I esteem it, how often it has given me consolation and support in the midst of my long infirmities and confinements in former years, when I was not capable of reading a whole page together in any writing: And there are multitudes of Christians that can bear the same testimony, to the value of this Cola lection of Promises, who have found it an effectual spur to duty, and a divine relief under surrounding forrows.
In order to a better improvement of these Promises, it may be very proper to read the Introduction first, which will teach even Chriftians of the lower rank, how to understand and apply all these discoveries of divine mercy. Those who have little leisure for reading, may find their account in keeping this book always near them; and with the glance of an eye, they may take in the riches of grace and glory, and derive many a sweet refreshment from hence, amidst their labours and travels through this wilderness. It is of excellent use to lie on the table in a chamber of sickness, and now and then to take a fip of the river of life, which runs through it in a thousand little rills of peace and joy.
May this ad edition, which brings it again into the world, be attended with still great. er success : And I shall be glad to see such an evidence of growing Christianity and living religion among us, that such an assemblage of divine mercies which have been showered down from heaven in different ages, upon this wretched world, ever since the fall of man, comes into the relish and taste of mankind, so far as to be perused and prized by them. May the Holy Spirit of God who in. dited all these Promises, and our blessed Mediator, who by his ministry and by his blood, has sealed and confirmed them all, render them every day more and more powerful and prevalent, to draw the hearts of men towards God, and to fit them for the enjoyment of these words of grace in their complete accomplishment in glory. Amen.
NEWINGTON, 7 Jan. 19, 1750. s
Some Observations upon the Excellency and Use
of the PROMISES, and Directions for the right Application of them.
RESIDES the many other evidences the holy fcrip. D ture carries in it, of a Divine original, there are especially remarkable the fublimity, excellency and reasonableness of the doctrines it teaches ; the wisdom, holiness, and perfection of the rules of life it lays down ; and the strength and efficacy of those fanctions, with which it enforces its precepts. As the Threatenings have the greatest tendency to strike an awe upon the mind, and to lay a powerful restraint upon every irregular inclination ; fo the Promises are of such a nature, as most strongly to excite to, and give the greatest encouragement in a course of piety and universal holiness. It is therefore with the highest reason the apostle says of them, That there are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises, that by these we might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lufi, 2 Pet. i. 4. They are great and excel. lent ; whether we consider the nature and variety of the blessings contained in them, the manner in which they are expressed, the certainty with which we may depend upon them, or their happy influence upon the mind. B.