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THE following Sermons, though first preached
on particular occafions, have been felected in
arder to form a little fyftem of the truths of the
gospel, to point out their relation to one another,
and their influence on practice. There appears to
me the greater neceffity of this, that evangelical
principles have for fome time paft been falling
greatly into disrepute; which I take to be the true,
and the fingle reafon, why religion is at present in
fo very weak and languishing a state. The at-
tempt ought not to be confidered as arifing from
a thirft of fame; for a man must judge very ill
who should expect to increase his reputation by e-
fpoufing this defpifed caufe. I must also observe,
that thefe difcourfes are not publifhed as containing
any thing better than many practical writings of
the laft age; but as an endeavour to perpetuate
the knowledge of the fame truths, and to fupply
the place of those which, through the antiquity of
Style and manner, feem to be falling into forget-
fulness. If there is any thing particular in them,
it is an attempt to illuftrate the scripture-doctrme
by experience, and obfervations on human life. It
hath long been my opinion, that an impartial view
of the courfe of Providence, and of the characters
and ways of men, would greatly contribute to e
ftablifh us in the belief of the truths of the gospel;
and that the very oppofition given to them by
worldly men, ferves at once to accomplish and con--
firm them..


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There will be found, in many of the fermons, expreffions of reference to the time of their being first preached, particularly to the adminiftration of the facrament of the Lord's fupper. It had been eafy to have altered the fentences in which exprefs mention is made of that ordinance; but as there is often a peculiarity or propriety of language through the whole of a difcourfe, which is beft understood when we know the time and circum--ftances of its first compofition, I chofe to let them ftand as they were. Another reafon inclined me to the fame thing: The choice of the subjects for publication was made in fuch a manner as to give a pretty full view of the revelation of divine mer-ry in the gospel, and by that means to illuftrate and support the truth. But as there is a great danger of running too much into controverfy and fpeculation, the best way to avoid this feemed to be, to let the fermons retain every thing particular and practical, intended for the inftruction, reproof, or confolation, of the audience, when they were first delivered. With thefe few remarks, I commit them to the candour of the public, with very little concern as to the judgement of those who read only to pafs fentence upon the ability of the writer, but earnestly praying, that God may make them inftrumental in turning finners from the error of their ways, and promoting the fanctification and peace of thofe who have known the truth as it is in Jefus.

Pailey, May 16. 1768.

J. W..

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