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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 Year 1776. About the Time it was finished he was feized with a violent Illness, which put a Stop to his Labours, and confined him two Years and an Half before his Death; which happened February 15, 1788, in the 71st Year of his Age. He lived beloved and refpected, and died regretted by all who had the Happiness to hear his Inftructions, or enjoyed the Pleasure of bis Friendship and Converfation.
1 JOHN, I. 4.
THESE THINGS WRITE WE UNTO YOU, THAT YOUR JOY MAY,
T. JOHN, in the beginning of this Epiftle, 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 faw the glory of God manifested in his fon Jefus Chrift; were eyewitneffes of his death and refurrection; that they had received such evidence of proof as fuperfeded all poffibility of doubt; for they not only faw, but handled, ate, drank, and familiarly converfed with him, after he was risen from the dead. His religion, thus founded on the teftimony of all their fenfes, from a generous concern for the fouls of his fellow-creatures, this great mafter in the fcience of falvation, 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 wifdom, grace, and immortality; and that with God himfelf, VOL. III.
through his acknowledged Son, Jesus Christ. "And these things, fays 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, difinterested motive! Difinterested, did I fay? No, to do good to the fouls of men is a luxury for angels and arch angels! and happy, fincerely happy, are the teachers of religion at the present day, when they can address their hearers in the fame ftrain. The being, providence, power, glory, and goodness of God, which we have clearly feen from the works of nature; thofe great and univerfally interesting truths, which we have learned from the holy Scriptures, and from wife 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 cleareft light we are able; that ye may have fellowship with us: " and truly "our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jefus Chrift: "and these things declare we unto you, that your joy may be complete." This furely is the end that every one who is called to be a preacher of God's word ought always to have in view, and profecute 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 fouls? 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 neceffary effect of their ignorance of things excellent. Would the riches, honours, and pleasures of this world be so univerfally the fole objects of defire, if we were convinced that the joys of heaven are within our reach? No; we should, doubtless, all afpire and pant after eternal happiness, did we in earnest believe the glad tidings of the Gospel. That you may believe them, fhall be the labour of a few plain difcourfes, to which this is intended only as an introduction.