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I HAVE found a sweet savour of Jesu's precious name, free grace, and perfect salvation, in these meditations; and therefore I am persuaded it will be doing thee great service to recommend them to thy perusal. They will be profitable to thee, if thou art hungering and thirsting after Jesus and his righteousness; or if thou art one of those happy souls who know Jesus to be the Lord by the Holy Ghost, and art desiring to grow in the knowledge of his adorable person, and in the love of the Father through him: may the Lord the Spirit witness to thy heart of Jesus, whilst thou art reading them, and render them the of glorifying Jesus in thy life and conversation,
that thou mayest learn from every page to trust him more, to hope more in him, and to love him more, who is thy all; and if thou livest upon him in all, he will be thy heaven upon earth, and thy heaven of heavens in eternal glory. To his tender compassion I commend thee and thine, being thy well-wisher (whoever thou art) in that ever dear Lord.
Lambeth, June 13, 1765.
SILVER of human eloquence, and gold of acquired literature, have I none; but such as I have, I give to thee, plain truth in plain style, in the name of Jesus Christ. He is our one master. It has been my earnest prayer, that to his glory mine eye might be single. One grand point has been my chief aim, namely, to exalt the Lord Jesus, the perfection of his atonement and righteousness, and the glory of his salvation. This I have found the blessed support and joyful triumph of my own soul, while exercised with great disorder and weakness of body, in this work, If the Lord and giver of all grace, is pleased to bless this feeble attempt to the spiritual profit of any of his dear children, to him only all the glory is due.
As love covereth a multitude of faults, and the prayer of faith availeth much, may these, reader, be excited in behalf of the following sheets; and towards him who desires to esteem it his highest honor, and greatest glory on earth, to confess and serve the Lord Christ, though less than the least of all his servants, and thine also for his sake.
LIFE OF THE AUTHOR.
FROM THE LONDON EVANGELICAL MAGAZINE.
THE subject of this memoir was born at Rotherhithe, in the county of Surrey, in the year 1719. His father was by trade a clockmaker. He gave his son a decent education at a grammar-school, where he learnt the rudiments of the Latin language; and, possess ing a mind naturally inquisitive, devoted many hours of his younger years to reading. At a proper age he was bound an apprentice to his father; who having no idea beyond the acquisition of present good, took no pains to train him up in the way he should go, or to impress his mind with the truths of revelation.
Just before the expiration of his apprenticeship, his father was removed by death. By this event Providence called him very early in life to act the part of a Joseph. A mother, a sister, and a brother, now became his charge. When reflecting on this circumstance, and the direction and support which that God, whose ways are in the great deep, was pleased to afford him, tears of gratitude would frequently burst from his eyes, and the language of praise fall from his lips. To his mother he rendered, to the day of her death, all that assistance which duty, affection and industry, could inspire. His sister, by marriage, was taken from under his protection, and in a few years died. His brother, who yet survives, was, when very young left to his care, whom he put to school, and afterwards brought him up to his own business.
At the age of twenty-two, he gave his hand in marriage to Miss Cox, with whom he lived in happy union nearly fifty years, and which only terminated in his death. He frequently acknowledged the goodness of God, in restraining in him the violence of youthful passions. Though his mind was not impressed with religious truths, yet at no one period was he led captive by those vices to which youth are particularly addicted. But, as his moral conduct was exemplary, he derived from no small hope of obtaining favor from God. He constantly attended his parish church, and was seldom absent from the sacra ment; but, to use the language of the Prophet, he found "the bed A
shorter than that a man can stretch himself on it, and the covering narrower than that he can wrap himself in it." His mind was not unfrequently distressed with the suspicion, that he was not so good as he ought to be. His conscience would sometimes upbraid him with, the omission of duty and the commission of sin. Being at this time wholly unacquainted with the nature of evangelical sentiments, and that peace which results from the knowledge of Jesus Christ, as our wisdom, righteousness, sanctification, and redemption, he would seclude himself from the world, and, by agonizing in prayer, endeavor to perfect, by the flesh, that righteousness which he had long been attempting to establish. Being convinced that no exertions of his own would produce that happiness which his mind was ardently set upon, and finding that the system of mere Heathenish morality, which he had been accustomed to hear at his parish church, would administer no relief to his soul; he began occasionally to attend at Mr. Wesley's chapels, and in a few years was admitted into their societies, and appointed a leader of a class.
His new connection soon brought upon him the persecution of the world. In a diary, which he wrote in the year 1749, he has this remark: Aug. 7. "I was severely reflected on by one, who cursed and swore at me, saying I was commenced preacher: I was despised in the company of the world; a good lesson to me, that I am called out of the world." This was succeeded by another persecution of the tongue: "My worthy friend the Rev. Dr. rages mightily: He says, I have ruined a good Christian family, for whom he had the greatest love. As for me, I am melancholy mad; or, as another honest inoffensive clergyman tells me, I perplex myself too much - about religion."
But this was not the only persecution he met with. Many of his former acquaintance not only deserted him, but used their endeavors to injure him in his business; several captains of ships, who before had given him large orders, now entirely withdrew their favors, and he had the very trying prospect of an increasing family, with a decreasing trade. To this circumstance he alludes in his SPIRITUAL TREASURY, in the meditation from Luke xxii. 35. Lacked ye any thing? And they said, Nothing. He begins it: "Precious words to me! With tears of thankfulness I record the goodness of my Lord to the chief of sinners. Upwards of twenty years ago, when it pleased him to call me by his grace, and make me happy in his love, my name was cast out as evil....friends became foes....their hands were against me.... they withdrew their favors from me, and derided me; under narrow circumstances, tender feelings for a large family, carnal reasonings of my corrupt nature, and strong temptations from the enemy, often sore distressed. But my Lord was gracious; many and many