« PreviousContinue »
offspring of the sacred text, and ought therefore to be read carefully and with attention, by persons of all ranks and degrees, though they are indeed calculated for, and peculiarly adapted to, such as move in low spheres of life.
Let it, however, be a prevailing argument with persons of all denominations, carefully to read books of practical divinity, that many of them are not written on the same motives and principles as other books are; the authors have often a peculiar divine call to publish them, and well-founded hope of their being useful to advance Christianity in the world. In consequence whereof it is, that great numbers have reaped benefit by reading them, especially in childhood and youth ; many have been converted by them; and it may be questioned, if ever there was a true Christian, since the art of printing made these books common, who has not, in some stage of life, reaped considerable advantage from them. This book recommends itself in a particular manner, by its being a short, substantial system of practical divinity, in so much that it may with truth be asserted, that a person who is thoroughly acquainted with all that is here taught, may, without danger to his eternal interest, remain ignorant of Other things which pertain to the science called divinity. It is therefore earnestly recommended to the serious and frequent perusal of all, but especially of such as are in that stage of life called youth, and are so stationed in the world, as not to be frequently opportuned to hear sermons, and read commentaries on the sacred text.
It is doubtless incumbent on masters of families, to make some provision of spiritual as well as bodily food for their children and servants; this is effectually done by putting practical books in their hands : and therefore this book is humbly and earnestly recommended as a family. book, which all the members of it are not only allowed, but desired to peruse.
As to the difference betwist this and the former edi. tion, which gives it preference, it lies chiefly in the au. thor's not only having revised the style, but the thought; in many places; and corrected both, so as to set several important truths in a clearer light, and make the style of the book now uniform, which formerly was not so, be
cause of the explications of peculiar words and phrases in use amongst practical divines, especially of the Church of Scotland, which were interspersed throughout the former edition, and introduced by another hand, for the sake of such persons as are not accustomed to them. It remains that the prefacer not only subjoin his name, which was concealed in the first edition, as a testimony that he esteems the author, and values the book, but that he may thereby recommend it in a particular manner to the perusal of persons of his own acquaintance. If, in his as. sisting towards its being published, and in prefacing both editions, he has not run unsent, he has what will bear him up under all censures : the charitable will think no evil, and others will do as they please.
. ROBERT WIGHTMAN, M. D. G. E! EDINBURGA, MARCH 18, 1729.
Man immortal, . . . . - - - 3
Three sorts of persons reproved, . 3
A lamentation over the ruins,
From men's experience and observation, .
ulars, : • • • • • • • 5
In his kingly office Three evidences of it,
Against the law, as a rule of life,
Two cvidences of it, ..
Perverseness in reference to the chief end,
Wherein that sin is to be specially noticed, page 1
They are without God, •
Their misery in that respect,
Man unable to recover himself, in the way of the law, 1
The perfection of law-obedience, four-fold,