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EPISTLE GENERAL OF JOHN,
COMPRISED IN NINETY-THREE SERMONS.
FORMING A SERIES ON EACH OF THE CHAPTERS; AND ON EACH OF THE
VERSES OF TIIE SAME: SOME OF THE VERSES UNITED; AND THAT IN
PERFECT CONFORMITY WITH TIIEIR PROPER CONNECTION.
"Tuy WORD IS VERY PURE: THEREFORE THY SERVANT LOVETH ir."-Ps. cxix. 140.
RICHARD BAYNES, 28, PATERNOSTER ROW;
It having fallen to my lot, in the Lord's holy providence, to become the honored instrument of introducing to the christian world, which I now do, the present highly valuable Work; I embrace with truest spiritual pleasure, the opportunity of bearing, although a humble, yet decided and firm testimony (while its real and great intrinsic worth is its own and best recommendation) to the inestimable treasure it contains a treasure inestimable; seeing in it is stored a rich sum of scripture-matter, doctrinal and practical : because also, that in this work is manifest much of the sacred anointing of the Holy Ghost in the gift and diffusion of that light, accompanied by deep insight into divine Truth, with which this distinguished servant of the Lord (the Author) was favored—strikingly evident in the spiritual, judicious and instructive manner (to the God of all grace be glory!) in which he has been enabled, ministerially, to open the contents of the important subjects discussed-alike, in faithfulness to divine revealed Truth; and, to the Church and people of God:-50 especially necessary in the present “cloudy and dark day," when alas! the glory of the simplicity and truth of the Gospel is so greatly obscured, its effectual power so little prevalent; yea, and when in many instances “ the foundations” (Ps. xi. 3) are attempted, if it were possible, to be destroyed.
The present Work from the pen of this eminent minister of the Gospel, (now in Glory*) I feel confident, cannot but prove most acceptable to the friends and lovers of that beautiful harmony in doctrinal, experimental, and practical Subject, manifest throughout the different parts, and forming the grand aggregate of Scripture-Truth.
Very distinguishedly, through the grace of God, has this servant of Christ been assisted, in his writings already extantagreeably to apostolic exhortation, to “contend earnestly for the faith once delivered to the saints;” nor less truly, firmly, and warmly, for that vital godliness proceeding from the power and influence of the doctrines of Grace, spiritually received. Yet will the present ample addition to the Author's former works, be found (I conceive) a sort of completion of system in the ministration of divine and gospel Truth, accordant with scripture method and rule that while true faith, which enables the soul to lay hold of and close with Christ, exhibits the first grand lines of newbirth feature in the child of God, and identifies in a time state, the object of electing and everlasting love; it is a series of holy communion and fellowship with God the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ, by the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, which conduces to and demonstrates the spiritual growth, strength and maturity of the believer-his practical godliness and love in the Spirit, both to God and to the saints, (so copiously enforced in this Epistle, and so evangelically treated of in this Work) affording additional and continued proof of his vital union to Christ :--conformity to whose Image, being the great design of predestinating grace and love. Rom. viii. 29.
These and other important subjects will be found opened and scripturally maintained in the present Work: the perusal of which, will, I trust, through the Divine blessing, prove a sweet and substantial spiritual repast; as well as lastingly instructive and edifying. With a view to which, I beg to recommend to those who may peruse this Exposition, particularly to notice, and well digest,
See “ A MEMORIAL, OR TRIBUTE OF Praise," &c., by our Author; published by the writer of this Introduction, in 1829; in which a more particular reference is had to the event of the revered Author's decease.