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thankfully devote to be its temple; and every power of my soul I resign to its influence : may it descend and ever dwell in me; and so entirely possess me, that every appetite and passion, every thought and imagination of my heart may be made perfectly conformable to the inage and will of God; and I may daily grow up into a meetness for the mansions of the blessed above.
And now blessed be God who has inclined my heart to enter into this covenant; and blessed be his name, who, I trust, will enable me faithfully to keep it. In an humble dependence upon the promised aids of his Spirit, through Christ my allpowerful and compassionate Redeemer, I will now subscribe my name to it, and call heaven to witness to my sincerity therein.
Oh that the covenant I now ratify on earth, may be ratified in heaven! Affix, blessed Saviour, who art the mediator of the new covenant, thy signet thereto; and now seal by thy Spirit both my body and soul to that everlasting redemption for which according to thy promise we believingly wait. Amen and Amen.
Done this Day of
in the Year
Passages of scripture proper to be read on this occasion are the xxii. xxvii. xxx. xxxii. Ixvi. ciii. and cxvi. Psalms. And the xxxviii. of Isaiah.
GROUNDS OF FAITH
SHEWN TO BE A SOLID FOUNDATION FOR PEACE
AND JOY UNSPEAKABLE:
AN EARNEST RECOMMENDATION OF CATHOLIC CHRIS.
TIANITY, AND THE COMMUNION OF SAINTS :
A CANDID SOCIETY OF CHRISTIANS AT THE CLOSE OF THEIR
PASTOR'S MINISTRATIONS AMONGST TIIEM.
[FIRST PRINTED 1784.)
GROUNDS OF FAITH
JESUS CHRIST, &c.
TO THE UNITED CONGREGATIONS OF PROTESTANT
DISSENTERS, IN THR CITY OF EXETER.
MY BELOVED BRETHREN,
When at this evening of life, I look back, and survey the goodness and mercy which have carried me through more than sixty years service in the christian sanctuary, and now granted me a retreat, with peculiar marks of affection and esteem, from so respectable a society as the united congregations of protestant dissenters in this city, I bow with grateful adoration, and feel myself lost in wonder and praise !
The very obliging manner you have taken, not only to express, but to substantiate the expression of your kind regard, and to transmit its remembrance to our posterity, lays me under a debt, which I shall be continually paying to the end of my life.
And as you have been pleased to request some memorial, on my part, of the important relation in which I liave long stood, I know not what better testimony to leave, of my unfeigned concern for your present and future everlasting felicity, than by calling up to your review, and solemnly conjuring your serious attention to the great objects presented in the following address.
Take care that you be well established in the rational belief of the christian revelation ; and that you see clearly the grounds on which you acknowledge the divine mission, and authority of our Lord Jesus Christ.
As God hath given us reason and understanding, that image of himself in which man was at first formed; so it is a reasonable service which he expects at our hands. It is not a blind and enthusiastic, but a rational faith which christianily requires : we are always to be in readiness to give, to every one that asketh, a reason of the hope that is in us. Thus only will you be qualified to convince gainsayers; to refute the cavils of sceptics and unbelievers; and to train up the yoning persons wbich may be committed to your care, in the principles of true religion; to form them into a resemblance to the character of Jesus Christ, and into a participation of his spirit, ubich are absolutely necessary to their passing, with any honour and happiness, through the present world; and to their participating of the everlasting glory prepared for us in the other.
Besides, the more clear our views are, and the more distinctly we perceive the reasons and grounds on which our faith in Christ stands, the more effica cious will it be to purify our hearts, to regulate our lives, to raise us above the snares and allurements of the world, and to fortify us against its frowns--to give us peace and joy amidst the various tribulations to which these scenes of mortality are continually exposed--and