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The Editor thinks it incumbent upon him to inform the Reader,
A that several, both ancient and modern Christians, have con tributed towards enriching this Treasury; that he has not stuck to any particular sect or party of Christians, but wherever he found a passage among the old authors striking, instructive, or encouraging to the people of God, he inserted it with great pleasure, and applied to friends for their illustration of particular points in divie nity, which he thought were more immediately necessary for the information of common readers; not points of speculation, or doubtful interpretation, but what all allow are essential to the Christian Religion; such as Repentance, Faith, Holiness, &c. and they readily favoured him with their sentiments, prompted, he doubts not, with the same generous motive he himself is actuated by,“the edification of the children of God." He is, nevertheless, aware, that there are many who discover an excellent spirit and lively zeal, yet confine their regards to a few principles, which, however important, are not the whole of Christianity, but want some other articles to guard them. Knowledge and practice, he is persuaded, must go hand in hand together.
The edification of Christians in general, and of every reader in particular, is the professed design of this publication. The grace of God forming the heart for God, is the Lord's work; «the new creature” is his workmanship, “ created in Christ Jesus unto good works." The foundation of the spiritual building is laid in Christ; on this foundation the Christiany builds : in building upon their most holy faith, Christians will have their eye upon the Master-builder; will keep to the plan of the work, to the plan of the Christian life, as drawn and set by Jesus; and will be daily asking and receiving directions and materials for carrying on the work. In this good work they meet with many impediments, arising from self, the world, and the great enemy to religion, Satan; and at times are apt to be discouraged; as the Jews were often opposed and retarded
in the building of the temple by the subtilty and power of those who hated them; happy when the work was going on pleasantly, sad and cast down when it was otherwise. So when the good work in the soul is advancing, and there is a growth in the divine life, then are they glad and revive. But when the work is more at a stand; when many things concur to hinder the progress of religion in the soul ; when the mind is disturbed with sinful desires, and unbelieving thoughts, with the cares of the world, and the assaults of the Devil; when the Lord seems to have forgotten, and to hide his face, and dark dispensations of Providence perplex and disquiet the weak inind; when the frail body is bowed down with trouble, and the spirit is faint and languid, how sad and sorrowful the case !
Reader, How is this work going on with you ? Have you the same life and spirit you once had? or are you more feeble-minded ? Is a spirit of languor and deadness creeping upon you? Are you bewailing the want of that sweet experience of the power and presence of God you once had! Are you, like Job, crying out, “O that I were as in months past, when the candle of the Lord shined upon me! Wilt thou not revive, wilt thou not enlighten my darkness?" If this is your complaint, go to the throne of Grace; go often to the Living Stone, that you, as a lively stone in the building, may be built up in faith, love, and joy. Your enemies are many, are subtle, are strong, but they shall not prevail ; your Redeemer is strong, the Lord of Hosts is his name! he shall arise and thoroughly plead your cause, and give you rest.
In the primitive Church, upon the plentiful effusion of the Holy Ghost at Pentecost, how amiable the spirit of love to Christ and his truths, of warm unaffected devotion, of union, concord, and brotherly love, among themselves ! “They were ail of one heart and of one soul.”
. At the Reformation from Popery, how warm and bold was the zeal of the venerable Reformers, in contending for and promoting the pure doctrines of the Gospel! How wonderful their success under the countenance of the Most High! And in later times, how have we seen religion revive in some places, while it was remarkably declining in others! When purity of faith and purity in practice prevail in any Church, there God is glorified, there is true Christianity: when instruments are raised up, who have a hearty love to the work, it goes on pleasantly and prospers; when the friends of Jesus are many, are zealous and active, and harmoniously unite together in promoting the interests of bis kingdom, hour
does the glorious design succeed ! " The whole body united to the head, and fitly joined together, and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body to the edifying of itself in love." On the other hand, when the truths of Jesus are denied, are darkened and obscured; when the spirit of infidelity and error makes progress ; when there is a general spirit of dissipation and profligacy of manners; when the enemies of Jesus increase, and carry on their attacks with some success, what a stop is put to the glorious work! how is its progress retarded! When there is a general languor and formality in religious matters; when there is a warmer zeal for things of doubtful disputation than for the great and substantial interests of the Redeemer's kingdon, how does vital Christianity decay! When, instead of loving one another with a pure heart fervently, and uniting in promoting the great cause against the common enemy, there is a spirit of party and dissention even among professed friends, how much does the work suffer, and how do the enemies triumph! Satan's watch-word is, “ Divide and devour:" if once he can separate us from the fold, and withdraw us from the Shepherd's tents, his work is half done. Christ's watch - word is, “Unite and conquer." The path of duty is the path of safety. Surely, this will lead all the true servants of God to