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Mind of Bellarmine; That it will be best to reft upon Christ alone for Salvation when they come to die : They will then see that they had no cause to abuse the Servants of Jesus Christ, that have made it their business to exalt Christ and FreeGrace. Fourthly, Knowing my own Insuffici, cheỳ for. fo great a Worky as to appear to Publick View. Fifthly, Because of many things that might be left out in the Printing that was Preached, I not Preaching by Notes, cannot remember many things which were delivered to you when the Sermons were Preached ; but here
u will find the principal Heads of what I delivered, being taken from my Mouth by a Servant of the Lord when Preached. I have done my endeavour to supply what I could that was wanting, and to correct what I saw out of Order ; but it cannot be expected so well as it would have been, if I had Writ' the Sermons I had Preached at length; yet finding the earnest Defire of most of you to have them Printed, and the many Arguments you used to have them hastened to be Published, notwithstanding the many Struglings I have had against the Work; yet the dear Love I bear to you, and the earnest Desire I have to serve you in the Lord, hath overcome my Unwillingness in this work, having received an account from several of you, the sweet Comforts many of you received when you heard them preached, and have also declared how much it would add to your Comfort and Edification if they were Printed; I hope through Grace, that you will not be disappointed of your Expectation. Some of you have declared that the Preaching was as Marrow and Fatnefs to your Souls; I hope that you will suck out some Spiritual Sweetness in the Reading of them. As God
was graciously pleased to answer your Prayerš, in raising me from a fick Bed, to Preach these my Sick - Bed Meditations amongst you; I hope, through Mercy, your longing Desire to read them will be fatisfied, in receiving that Comfort you expect to Reap to your Souls in Reading of them. What is said of Money, that it Answers all things to the Sublistence of the Body, may be much more fata of Christ to them that Live upon him; he answers all their Wants, supplies all their Needs : He that hath Christ 'wants not, he that hath not Christ, Inherits not what : he' seems to have. Chrift enjoyed in the Soul, makes bitter things Sweet, heavy things light; where Christ's Prefence is, Darkness is made Light, and Sorrow turned into Gladnes. How precious are the Enjoyments of them that have such a precious Pearl as Christ is ! 'He is the chiefeft of Ten Thousand, he's á moft Excellent and lasting Good, Heb. xiii. 18. All the bid Treasure of Wisdom and Knowledge is in bim, Col. ii. 3. What an Excellent Knowledge have ye attained unto, that truly know Chrift? How doth this transcendent Worth affect your Hearts, changing them into his own Image and Likeness? When a Soul comes to have a saving Knowledge of Christ, he is changed then from Vir Terranus an Earthly Man,.to Vir Cæleftis an Heavenly Man. : Ignorance of Jesus Christ, causeth Men to rest in Shadows and in Forms, in poor and low things, compared with Chrift and his Excellency, all rare but Dross and Dung, sa the Apostle esteems them, Phil. iii. 8. It is only a real saving Knowledge of Chrift, can draw the Heart of a vain and perishing World to seek things that are above. It is not a Speculation, but an Application of Christ, that brings home to the Im-.
mortal Soul what it stands in need of; Life, Light, Pardon, Peace, Purity, Righteousness, Counsel, Comfort, Healing, Deliverance, Grace, Glory, all flows to the believing Soul from Chrift, in whom all Fulness dwells. The Soul that lives Christ hath a good Livelihood, John vi. 51. He Thall live well for ever. It is not an outside shew of Religion will be to the Soul what it stands in need of, as Redemption, Forgiveness, Reconcilation, Sarctification, Consolation, Salvation. Christ is the Believers fafe Sanctuary in all their Troubles and Temptation, Ilja. viii. 14.
In this small following Treatife, I hope you find sume Discourses of the fulness of Jesus Christ, and the emptiness of the Creature; for that is my Desire in all my Labours among you, to get an Efteem in your Hearts for Christ above all
other things, and that the Name of our Lord Jesus may be Glorified in you, and ye in him: I hope I need not doubt of your acceptance of those plain following Truths. I do not think you will refuse it for its plain Dress, but rather Embrace it ; for I know, as for the most part of you, that you had rather have Christ plainly Preach'd, than fuch Discourses that are bedeck'd with Rhetorick, or painted over with curious Words of Art. I may expect it will not be free from the Slighting Scorn, and Contempt of many, that are ready to undervalue every thing but what they do themselves, and do find fault with that they cannot Mend. But I have learned not to value
of their Undervaluings : For if a thousand to one flight it, yet if one in a thousand get good in their Souls by it, I shall bless God that ever it was printed; what Evil Report foever I may receive from Evil Men of Evil Minds for
the Works fake; I hope I shall not value the Frowns of Men, as one well faith, Better to lose the smiles of Men, than to lose the Souls of Men; and I am sure without Christ bé our Life, we are poor and undone dead Sinners. I know I have many Enemies, who have through their Envy and Malice raised many false Reports of me : But I desire to be an Enemy to none, but those that are implacable Enemies of Christ in Doctrine and in Practice; but tho they are Enemies, yet I freely pray for them. But I cannot expect to fare better than those that have abundantly, excelled in Grace and Knowledge, that were both burning and shining Lights, whose Works praise them in the Gate, and their Sweet Savour in Christ made known to Saints and Sinners; many Hundreds I believe, have cause to Bless God that either heard them Preach'd, or have Read their Works : And yet how are these Men railed against as not worthy to live, and their works to be Burnt by the common Hangman, as one with more Zeal than Knowledge declared : Because Men have not received that measure of Knowledge and Experience as those Men, they rail against them as Ignorant unlearned Men, their Books not safe for any
to Read. Do not thefe Men go quarrelling in the Dark, because their Brethren have received more Light than they? Persons are grown to such a fond Conceit of themselves and their own Opinion, they will not hearken to Gospel-Experiences; they will not fo much as try those Truths they revile by the Scripture, but proceed with Lies and Slanders against thofe good Men, though they never knew their Persons, nor Read their
Books. I am perswader, if these Persons had Knowledge of those Perfons and Truths they speak against, if the Lord were pleased
to reveal himself to them, had they a Tafte and Sight of the Lord Jesus, who reveals himself how and to whom he pleaseth, instead of biting and devouring them, and spending their time to raise Evil Reports of them, they would enquire after the Knowledge of Christ, as the Daughters of Jerusalem did of the Spouse; IVhether is thy beloved gone, that we may seek him with thee, Cant. vi. 1. If Chriitians would spend their time in enquiring after Chrift, and receiving and imparting their Experiences to each other, as they spend in Contentions, and taking up, and carrying about Evil Reports of them that excel themselves in Godliness, they would find more Peace and Comfort to their own Souls, and bring more Glory to God, bring more Souls to Christ, and would be a Means for the Beauty of Holiness, and Power of Godliness to thine with greater Lustre to the World. This is my Comfort,
Comfort, whatever MensThoughts or Words, Censures or Contempt are of these my poor Labours; 'I can truly fay, I seek not my self, but the exalting of Jesus Christ, and his Truths and Kingdom in the World. InSingleness of Heart I have imparted Truth to you, as I learned them in Jesus: I had rather have the Scorn of Men for the Plainness of Truth, than you should have plain Truths hid from you. If I am the Object of Worldlings Scorn, só Christ be the Object of your Faith, therein I Thall rejoice.
Behold, as I have granted your Request in Printing my unworthy Labours, which were done chiefly at your Request, and for your fake; I pray grant me some few Requests, which I beg of you for Christ's sake,
First, That you seriously and carefully perufe these plain Truths that I have dedicated to you.