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This Volume was printed in the Author's Life-time, and intended as a Third Volume of his Works, or Continuation of the Family Preacher, two Volumes Quarto, published in the rear 1776. About the Time it was finished he was seized with a violent Illness, which put a Stop to his Labours, and confined him two Years and an Half before bis Death; which happened February 15, 1788, in the 71st Year of his Age. He lived beloved and refpe&ted, and died regretted by all who had the Happiness to hear his Instructions, or enjoyed the Pleasure of bis Friendhip and Conversation.
SE R MON .
T H E 1. AUTHOR's A POLO G Y,
Α Ν INTRODUCTORY DISCOURSE.
1 JOHN, I. 4. THESE THINGS WRITE WE UNTO YOU, THAT YOUR JOY MAY
C T. JOHN, in the beginning of this Epistle, declares, that he,
as well as the rest of the Apostles, had infallible demonstration
of the truth of what they preached unto the world; that they saw the glory of God manifested in his son Jesus Christ; were eyewitnesses of his death and resurrection ; that they had received such evidence of proof as superseded all possibility of doubt ; for they not only saw, but handled, ate, drank, and familiarly conversed with him, after he was risen from the dead. His religion, thus founded on the testimony of all their senses, froin a generous concern for the souls of his fellow-creatures, this great master in the science of salvation, with indefatigable industry, published to the world, that all men might avail themselves of his knowledge, and be admitted to a participation of the glorious privileges of the Gospel : a participation of wisdom, grace, and immortality; and that with God himself, VOL. III.
through through his acknowledged Son, Jesus Christ. “And these things, " says he, write we unto you, that your joy may be full.” We repeat these infallible evidences of our own faith, that your fatisfaction in the Gospel may be perfect and complete, beyond the reach of infidel suggestions from without, or the doubts of your own hearts within. Generous, amiable, disinterested motive! Disinterested, did I say? No, to do good to the souls of men is a luxury for ana gels and arch angels ! and happy, sincerely happy, are the teachers of religion at the present day, when they can address their hearers in the fame strain. The being, providence, power, glory, and goodness of God, which we have clearly seen from the works of nature; those great and universally interesting truths, which we have learned from the holy Scriptures, and from wise and pious men, who have made it their whole study to illustrate them; thofe we declare unto you ; those we set before you in the clearest light we are able; that ye may have fellowship with us : “ and truly " our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ: “ and these things declare we unto you, that your joy may be o complete.” This surely is the end that every one who is called to be a preacher of God's word ought always to have in view, and prosecute to the utmost of his power. Can any man better employ those talents that the Lord hath lent him, than in laying a rational foundation whereon to build up your faith to the falvation of your souls ? That you may be able to give to every one a reason for the hope that is in you. Men’s fondness for trifles is the necessary effect of their ignorance of things excellent. Would the riches, honours, and pleasures of this world be so universally the sole objects of desire, if we were convinced that the joys of heaven are within our reach ? No; we should, doubtless, all aspire and pant after eternal happiness, did we in earnest believe the glad tidings of the Gospel. That you may believe them, thall be the labour of a few plain discourses, to which this is intended only as an introduction.