TO THE READER.
SO good is the God of Jacob to his Israel on this side the promi∣sed Land, that no good thing will he with-hold from them that walk uprightly.
Friend, If it may be verified of thee, what our blessed Saviour spake of Nathaniel, behold an Israelite indeed in whom is no guile; thou hast at present, not only a title to Esau's E∣NOƲGH, but the tenure of Jacobs-ALL: according to that ancient Charter of all Saints recorded by that great Apostle of the Gentiles, —For All things are yours; whether Paul,* or Apollo, or Cephas &c. All are yours, and you are Christs, and Christ is Gods.Page [unnumbered]
The very Persons and Ministery, Calling and Gifts, Studies and Writings, Prayers and Sermons of the faithfull Ministers of the Gospel,* All are for the use, service, and com∣fort of Christs LITTLE-LITTLE FLOCK. This Evangelical truth is notably proved by the same Apostle to the Ephesians. When our only High-Priest ascended up on high (into the Holy of Holies, there to transact his Priestly office of Intercession at the right hand of God the Father) He gave some (to be) Apostles, and some Prophets,* and some Evangelists, and some Pastors and Teachers, for the perfecting of the Saints, for the work of the Ministery, for the edifying of the body of Christ.
Thus this Servant of the Lord is thine; as much thine, as Paul was the Corinthi∣ans. Yea, these his Spiritfull peeces of Evan∣gelical mysteries are thine: Thine, to build thee up in the saving knowledge of that doctri∣nal truth, the Priestly office of Christ, as it is the Magazine and storehouse of all that grace and comfort which we are crowned with under heaven: Thine, to give thee a piercing in∣sight Page [unnumbered]into the intricate methods of the Old Ser∣pent, and plainly to discover upon what rocks and sands the faith of many suffer shipwrack: Thine,* to arme thee with spirituall Armour of proof, called a BREAST-PLATE, because it guards the heart; or (as the word elsewhere holds it out) A LONG-IARGE-SHIELD, which is very dexterous to defend the whole of a Christian Souldier from all the fiery darts of THE WICKED-ONE.*
Reader, Let us be thine, to beseech thee by the mercies of God, (as thou tenderest the peace and welfare of all within thy own taber∣nacle) immediately to put in practise the holy Contents of this Experimentall Book. For if thou art one of the LORDS-Simons, Behold Satan hath desired to have thee, that he may sift thee as wheat. Oh therefore make provi∣sion for thy soule with all speed, before the houre of temptation draweth on. It is not true valour, but desperate fool-madnesse, to adjourne this Every-dayes businesse of everlasting concern∣ment: Because in this, as in oversights of War, there is no room for a second retractation, the first error being unrecoverable.Page [unnumbered]
This is all we have to advertise thee touch∣ing these choise usefull Lectures. For the Au∣thor of them (whom we very much love and honour) we must beare witnesse, that when he first preached them from the bosome of Jesus Christ (his Master) to many tempted bleeding hearts in and about this populous City, he had not then the least thought to suffer them in Print to serve the Publique. But afterwards, eye∣ing the voice of God in the multiplied de∣sires and greedy expectations both of friends and strangers, his constant Auditors (though of different judgements) in their private spee∣ches and Letters; and to prevent a further inconvenience, [sc. the publishing them by some who had impefect Notes in their hands] was necessitated to depute us [in his absence at Yarmouth) to hand out into the world this his Copy,* which was exactly penned from his tongue,* by that his beloved Amanuensis, and since kept charily by him, as a precious thing committed to his trust.Page [unnumbered]
The Father of our Lord Jesus Christ grant thee according, to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man, so that thou mayest be more then conquerour through Him that loved thee, and prayed for thee, that thy faith faile not. So be it.
Thine in the Lord Jesus,
- William Greenhill.
- John Tates.
- William Adderley.