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glory and with a cheerful expectation, through divine grace, that I shall ere long meet many of you in it; I close this sermon, and these discourses: Not without an humble hope, that when we arrive at this blessed world, these hours which we have spent together in the house of God in attending them, will come into a pleasant remembrance; and that the God of all grace, to whose glory they are faithfully devoted, and to whose blessing they are humbly committed, will honour them as the means of increasing his family, as well as of feeding and quickening those who are already his regenerate children. Amen!
SALVATION BY GRACE
ILLUSTRATED AND IMPROVED, IN TWO SERMONS.
I AM NOT ASHAMED OF THE GOSPEL OF CHRIST; FOR IT IS THE POWER OF GOD UNTO SALVATION, TO EVERY ONE THAT BELIEVETH.-Rom. i. 16.
therefore its religious interests are dear by additional ties. Let me address those of you, whose age and experience, in the human and the divine life, give you something of a natural authority in your application, and command a distinguished regard. Look round about you, and observe the state of religion in your neighbourhood; and labour to the utmost to propagate, not so much this or that particular opinion or form of worship, but real vital christianity in the world. Bear your testimony to it on all proper occasions: Be not ashamed of it in your familiar discourse: And above all, labour to adorn it by your actions. And when you see any under serious impressions, as it is certain they will have a great deal discouraging and difficult to break through; and as the Devil and his instruments, among whom I must necessarily reckon licentious company, will be doing their utmost to draw them back into the snare of the fowler; let me exhort and charge you to be as solicitous to save, as others are to destroy. I know, how many excuses our cowardly and indolent hearts are ready to find out upon such an occasion; but I think those words of Solomon are a sufficient answer to all, and I beg you would seriously revolve them; If thou forbear to deliver them that are drawn unto death, and those that are ready to be slain; if thou sayest, Behold, we knew it not; doth not he that pondereth the heart, consider it? And he that keepeth thy soul, (thine, Oh Christian, with such peculiar and gracious care) doth not he know it? And shall not he render to every man according to his works*? He will assuredly Remember, and will abundantly reward, every work of faith, and every labour of love +; and we are insensible of our own truest interest, if we do not see how much it is concerned here.
Let me especially leave this exhortation with you, who are parents and heads of families. And one would imagine, there should need but little importunity in such a case as this: One would think your own hearts should speak to you, upon such an occasion, in very pathetic language. Look upon your dear children, to whom you have conveyed a nature which you know to be degenerate and corrupt; and be earnest in your prayers before God, and your endeavours with them, that it may be renewed. And take care, that you do not in this sense Despise the soul of your man-servant, or of your maid-servant. God has brought them under your care, it may be in those years of life, in which, on the one hand, they are most capable of being
CHURCH AND CONGREGATION
TO WHOM THE SUBSTANCE OF THESE SERMONS WAS PREACHED, AND AT WHOSE DESIRE THEY ARE PUBLISHED.
My Dear Brethren and Friends, beloved in our common Lord, WHEN I first preached these plain sermons to my own congregation, which I here offer to your perusal, I was much surprised at the request which several of them made, that they might be printed: But I was yet more surprised, when, after having delivered the substance of them in one discourse at Rowell some time after, you so unanimously and affectionately made that request your own. I apprehended, that though the many excellent treatises we have on this subject already, might excuse my backwardness to comply with the first motion of this kind; yet absolutely to have refused your repeated solicitation might have appeared disrespectful to my good friends, and perhaps have looked like some unwillingness to bear my testimony to this great and important doctrine, in an age, in which the credit of many evangelical truths seems to be fallen very low.
I am really sorry I have delayed this little service so long; but it was chiefly owing to my desire of finishing my Sermons on Regeneration, which indeed cost me more labour than I at first apprehended. That seemed a business of such importance, that I knew not how to interrupt it: But as they are now almost printed off, I send out these discourses as a kind of supplement to them; and therefore they are printed in a form very fit to bind up with them. The delay is more excusable, as salvation by grace is not a subject which grows out of date in a few months. This glorious doctrine has been the joy of the church in all ages on earth; and it will be the song of all that have received it in truth throughout the ages of eternity, and be pursued in the heavenly regions with evergrowing admiration and delight.
I cannot conclude this short address, without congratulating you on the abundant goodness of God to you as a church, in bringing among you that worthy and excellent person*, under whose pastoral care you are now so happily placed. I know he is a faithful witness to the truths of the gospel, and rejoice in that rich abundance of gifts and graces which render him so fit to state and improve them in the most advantageous, as well as most agree
*The Rev. Mr. Jonathan Saunderson.
able and delightful manner. I hope and believe, that the grace he so humbly owns his dependance upon, wil! add happy success to his labours: And I heartily pray, that you and neighbouring churches may long be happy in him: and that God, who has by such various and gracious interpositions in your favour, expressed his paternal care of you, may still delight to dwell among you. May he multiply you with men like a flock, daily adding to his church among you such as shall be saved! May your souls continually rejoice in his salvation! And may you ever walk worthy of the Lord, and prove, by the integrity and purity, the spirituality and usefulness of your whole behaviour, that this grace of God which brings salvation has entered with power into your hearts; and that it is your care and delight to improve it, as well as to hear of it! To contribute to this blessed end, by this or any other attempt of cordial love and faithful respect, will be an unspeakable pleasure to,
My dear Friends,
Northampton, Sept. 1, 1741.
Your very affectionate Servant
In the bonds of our common Lord,