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PREFACE.

EVERY

person, who is in the least degree acquainted with the corruption of the human heart, will readily acknowledge, that his own unassisted abilities are totally unequal to the task of faithfully serving God. Repeated violations of the most solemn resolutions of amendment have shown him his weakness : and his numerous lapses have woefully convinced him, that he stands in need of some divine conductor to

lead him in safety through the perilous journey of life. Such a guide is promised in Scripture to every sincere Christian.

We are not to suppose, that the ordinary operations of the Holy Spirit were confined to the apostolic age. Human nature is much alike, at all periods, and in all countries. Though Christianity is now established, and though miraculous interference is no longer necessary to the well-being of the Church : yet the present race of men will never be essentially better than their heathen predecessors, so long as they rest satisfied with having only outwardly embraced the religion of the Messiah. A mere hypocritical and external profession of faith cannot be pleasing to that God, who regards motives no less than actions. A radical change must take place in the heart, as well as an outward reformation in the manners : and this change can only be effected by the agency of some superior power. The heart is as much averse now to the genuine practice of piety, as it was in the days of the Apostles : and, though we have no longer to combat the horrors of cution, we have still to struggle with the unwillingness and corruption of the soul. If the whole of religion consisted in the bare belief of certain tenets and in the due observance of certain ceremonies, we should find very little difficulty in becoming thoroughly religious characters. But, when we are called

perse

upon to begin the work of self-reformation; when we are required to love God, with all our heart, with all our soul, and with all our strength ; when we are enjoined to prefer, upon all occasions, his will to our own, and to sacrifice our bosom sins, our darling vices, upon the altar of Christianity: then commences the struggle ; the inbred venom of our nature immediately shews itself; our very spirit rises both against the law and the lawgiver; and we discover the utter impossibility of working any change in our affections merely by our own efforts. No human arguments can persuade a man, to love what he hates, and to delight in what he detests. Submission they may perhaps teach him: but it will be the sullen submis

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