The Epistle Dedicatory.
To the Six Churches of Believers, Baptized upon the Profession of Faith in Hampshire, and to their respective Elders and Deacons; viz, at South-hampton, Mr. Richard Ring Pastor; at Christ-church, Mr. Humphrey Richards Pastor; at Ring∣wood, Mr. Nath. Lane, Pastor; and at, and near White-church, Mr. Richard Kent, and Mr. Joseph Kent Elders; at Lymington, Mr. John Ramsey Pa∣stor; at Gosport, Mr. John Webber Pastor; Grace, Mercy, and Peace, from God the Father, and our Lord Jesus Christ, be Multiplied.
Honoured and Beloved,
I Being lately cast among you by the providence of God; and being refreshed by seeing, and beholding your Order, Ʋnity, Love, and holy Zeal for God and Religion, together with that kind Reception you gave me, have, as a token of my Respects, Dedicated these insuing Sermons to you; some of you also giving Incouragement for the Publication of them. That which I de∣sire of you (which also I have hinted in Letters to you, since I returned to London) is that you would labour to strengthen one another's hands, not only by your mutual Prayers, and by assisting one another, but also that you, by your respective Messengers do meet together one or twice in the ••ar, to know each other's Estate, and wherein you may be further Serviceable one to another; which may prove many ways to your Advantage: 'Tis matter of great joy, to see how you are united in one Spirit, both in matters of Faith, and Practice, tho' Satan hath indeavoured to disturb the peace of some of you; but may be God suffered it, That such that are approved might be made manifest. The Lord increase your numbers, and cause you to flourish like the Palm-trees. Now, that which remains for you (the Churches of Jesus Christ) is, that you shew your Love, and holy zeal for the Support of your painful and faithful Pastors, and incouragement of such Gifts that you may have amongst you, by helping them to what Learning they may be able to attain unto, for their better Ac∣complishment for the Minister•; and by removing one gran•Page [unnumbered] Discouragement, by a faithful indeavour to support your presen• Ministery by a comfortable Gospel-maintenance, as God hath ordained, to the uttermost of your Ability; by which means a•¦so, you will acquit your selves of that common charge cast upon the Baptised Churches, viz. They starve their Ministers▪ How should they Provide Bread for your Souls should they be le•• to the Cares and Incumbrances of this Life, in providing Brea• for their own Families; but since you have received it as your undoubted Duty, to discharge them from all worldly Business ac∣cording to your Abilities, I need say no more to this.
Lastly, Let me exhort you all to strive to continue in Love and Ʋnion, and adorn your sacred Profession, 〈◊〉 a holy Conve•∣sation; and by dying to this World, and so to prepare for t•• coming of our Lord, which now draws very near: The Virgin• I fear are asleep, but sad will it be with some, if the Midnight Cry should find them so to be; as to these Sermons, I shall say b•• little, not knowing they deserve such a Publication, tho' I ha•• been pressed to do it, yet I hope with the blessing of God, they m•• be of profit to some (as you have assured me others of my form•• poor Labours have been to many,) and if I know my own Hea•• that it is which incourages me still to Write; for some other ways I have reason enough to throw away my Pen, and nev•• Write more; but since God gives me Incouragement, I shall li∣tle regard those Discouragements from Men, but if this way do too much, I am certain some others do too little, who I kn•• are far more able, and better accomplished to write than I, b•• where God gives but two Talents, he requires but the improve∣ment of Two; the Substance 〈◊〉 of these Sermons some of yo• heard. The good Lord bless you all, and establish you in the Doct¦rine of free Justification, by Christ alone, and in all other Fun¦damental Truths, and that you may be kept from all extreams▪ You will perceive in the latter part of this Treatise How Sata• is laying his Ax at the Root or Foundation, &c. many errors and Heresies abound in these evil Days, the Lord pour out more o• his Spirit, and •ndow you and I, with that precious Grace o• Humility; that we may be even cloathed therewith, and no• Judge & Censure one another, who all hold the head. To conclude let me beg a remembrance of me in your prayers, who hope I shal• never forget you whilst in this Tabernacle, and shall subcribe my self your Servant in the Gospel.
•orsly-Down,Nov. 4th. 167.