Watts - Houston-Packer Collection BX5207.W3 S4x 1805 v.2

PREFACE. +l' the publication of these discourses shall be so happy, us through the influ- ence of the BlessedSpirit to attain these ends, 1 have obtained my best aim and hope, and will ascribe the glory to God my Saviour; The first sermons which I published * were taken up chiefly in the more spiritual parts of our religion, and such as' relate more immediately to the secret transactions of the soul with God, and with his son Jesus Christ. In several following discourses, I have attempted toexplainmany duties of the Christian life w`.achrefer to our fellow-creatures. I hope no manwho loves the gospel of Christ, will knit his brow, and throw disgrace upon the book, with a contempt of dull morality : If such a person would give himself leave to peruse these sermoils, perhaps he would meet with so much of Christ and the gospel in them,. that he might learn to love his Saviour better than ever he did, and find how necessary moral duties.are to make his own religion either safe or honourable : While " we are saved by faith" in the blood and righteousnessof the Son of God, we must remem- ber also, that it is such a " faith as worketh by love," for " faith without works-is (lead," and useless to.all.purposes of hope and salvation. My design iii these sermons is to represent vice and virtue in their proper colours. 1 fòresee that many readers will quickly spy out their neigh- bours' names amongst the .vicious or unlovely characters; but it.would turn perhaps to their better account,..if they can find their own: for there is many a -description here that a hundred persons may lay a righteous claim to. It was my business to set a faithful glass before the face of con- science, bywhich we may examine ourselves, and learn " what manlier of persons we are and I pray God to keep it daily before my own eves. I acknowledge my clefects, and stand corrected in many of my own ser- mons. Blessed be God for a Mediator who is exalted to give repentance and forgiveness of sins!" Yet it may not be an improper or unsuccessful method of reproof, t fold down a useful leaf now and then for a friend, and give him notice in sucli an inoffensive manner of any blemishes that may belong to his cha- racter. Thus thesilent page shall bestow upon him the richest benefit of friendship; it maywhisper in his ear a secret word of admonition; and convey it to his conscience without offence. Such a gentle monitor may'. awaken him to inward shame and penitence; may rouse his virtue to shine' baighter than ever, and scatter the clouds that hung dark upon the evi- dence of his graces. . Since I first published these discourses j-, the world has been furnished.' with a more completeaccount of most of these subjects, in that excellent' treatise called the " ChristianTemper," which my worthy friend Doctor Evans bath sent abroad, and which is, perhaps, the most complete suin- nary of those duties which make up the christian life, that bath been published in our age. The next three sermons are employed on that 'divine subject, which I am ready to call, the chief .wQnder' amid glory of the christian religion, that is, " the great atonement for sin made by the death of Christ, and the prac- tical uses derived thence i." This is the blessed foundation of our hope, which I have endeavoured to set in a clear light, and to support by reason- ing drawn from the types and predictions of the Old Testament, and the clearer language of the New. This is that grace and that righteousness which was witnessed by the law and the prophets, as St. Paul expresses it, Rum. iii. 24. This is that important work of the blessed Saviour, who *21st February, 1720-21. 1. 25th ;,larch, 1723. $They were ßrstpublished 25th March, 1727.