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The order, subordination, and mutual dependencies and relations of personal, domestic, and public religion, are nicely stated, and judiciously discovered, and proper caveats entered againf beginning at the wrong end, as feldom milling to end either in apoftacy or division : which cannot be but very useful in the present junčure, when divisions so much abound, and dividing inclinations are fo much aloft.
In a word, there is no part of the book but what is of high importance and great usefulness; which, joined with the established character and reputation of the author, intitles it to a kind reception, and due perufal.
As these were the main prompters of the publishing the boak, Jothey may be reckoned sufficient arguments for a careful reading and improvement of it, now when
published. It comes out with very little alteration, even as to words, as, they stood in the manuscript, partly because it did not much need it, and partly out of veneration for the author, whose pulpit skill and Ayle vias lo generally acceptable ; yet it is not to be Supposed, but if it had received a finishing Proke from his own band, for the press, it might have appeared more beautiful ; shough even under this want, it will be found, that neither method nor Ayle is disagreeable, though popular, and just as prepared and delivered to his people.
May all that have encouraged the design of publishing the book, meet with the double reward of edification to their own Jouls, and seeing it do much good to others. We live in a time when all helps and advantages need to be improved, for awakening secure finners, and bringing them under
Joul-uptaking inquiries about salvation, and stirring up Chriftians to the universal pra&tice of piety and godliness. And as the book has a plain tendency to these ends, go on and read it, and digeft and apply it, begging that God may effectually bless and prosper it u those goed ends for which it is depgned,
A&s x. 29.--I ask therefore for what intent ye have sent
TAVING the formality of an introduction, I fall
Jay before you a few remarks for clearing the occasion of the apostle's using this question, and the reason why we made choice of this text at this time, for the subje&t of this discourse. And,
1. This chapter contains a large and particular account of one Cornelius, a Romnan centuricr, or cap:ain of an hundred soldiers, his conversion to Christianity.
2. Cornelius, though by birth a Roman, was of the Jewifa religion, a profelyte. Those who, of other nations, embraced the true religion, associating themselves to the Jews, were called proselytes ; and they were either sich as joined with the Jews in the whole rites of their religion, being circumcised as were the Jews, or such as adhered to the substantials of their religion, but remained uncircumcised. The former fort were called proselytes of rightcousness, or of the covenant; the latter, profelytes of the gate. Interpreters seein to agree that Cornelius was a proselyte of the gate, one who owned the substance of reo ligion, but remained uncircumcised, and did not join in the whole of their worship.
3. This captain was a true convert before this discovery of the gospel came to him by the apostle : he was accepted of God, and therefore was not to be accounted unclean. Now, none fave those who are converted can be accepted; for " they that are in the flesh cannot please
God; and without faith it is impollible to please him ; for he that comes to lim must believe that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him,” Heb. xi. 6. Wherefore,
4. He, no doubi, leaned upon the promised Messiah, Jesus Christ, for his acceptance with God; since 66 come to the Father but by him,” who is " the way, the truth, and the life,” and who only can guide finners in their approaches to God.
5. God being a rewarder of such as diligently seek kim, did reward this man's faith and obedience with the gospelsevelation of his Son Jesus Christ ; whence he came to 11derstand, that the Melliah be looked for was already come. His prayers and alıns-deeds are said to come up for a me. morial before God; not as if there had been any thing of merit in what was done or attained to, but to encourage others, and to discover tlie riches of God's bounty, in re. warding freely, according to his rich grace, the diligent inprovement of light, with greater degrees of light and life ; and this reward is not of debt, but of rich and rovereign grace.
6. This saint, waiting for the confolation of Israel, has a vision from God, bidding him fend for the apostle Peter ; whence we may learn, that God has a great respect for his own institutions. The gospel.ninistry is of divine appointment; and therefore the Lord refers Cornelius to it, though it had bcen no less easy to have discovered Christ to him in the vision.
7. Peter has a vision to the same purpose, removing such objections as might make him scruple: whence we njay remark, that when the Lord deli good to a people, by a minister, he gives both the people clearness to call, and the minister clearness to come ; though not in such an extraordinary manner as this here made use of.
8. When the apostle, in compliance with Cornelius's call, and God's call, or rather the Lord's joining in the same call with him, comes to the place where he was, the first question he puts to him is that which we have read to you : 1 ask therefore for what intent ye have sent for me? and this he doth, notwithstanding he had got some account of this from the servants who were sent for himn by Cornelius. The words are in themselves plain ; and therefore we
fhall not offer any explication of them, but lay before you this do&rine, which is palpably contained in them. Doct." A faithful gospel-minister, coming among a
people upon their call, will be very desirous to know what their designs in calling him were,” I ask therefore for what intent ye have sent for me?
In disconrfing this point, we shall enquire, I. Wliat designs a people should have in calling a gospel. minister.
II. What way they ilould evidence these to be their de. figns.
III. Make some inquiry into the reasons of the doctrine. And, lastly, Apply the whole.
1. To begin with the first of these, The designs a people Mould have in calling a gospel-minister ;--they are many. thall endeavour to reduce them to a few. And,
1. A people should, in calling a gospel-minister, design to hear from him the whole counsel of God, in reference to their eiernal salvation. This is the great business of gorpel-ministers, to declare the whole counsel of God to these to whom they come, to keep nothing back from them that may be of use to them. So their commillion runs, Matth. xxviii. 19, 20. 6 Go ye therefore and teach all nations, baptifing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost ; teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you ; and lo, I am with you always even unto the end of the world. Amen." And the great apostle of the Gentiles in that famous farewell fermon of his to the church of Ephesus, which we have recorded, A&s xx. from ver. 17, and downward, apo peals to the conscience of that people as to his faithfulness in fulfilling his cominiflion in declaring to them the whole counsel of God, ver. 27. And in keeping back nothing that could be profitable to them, ver. 20. Whoever would approve himself a faithful gospel-minister, must take care faithfully to discover to his hearers their loft and undone Jate by nature; that they are all become guilty before God ; and that there is no oiher way of their obtaining access to him but through Jesus Christ, who is made of God to them who believe 6 wisdom, righteousness, fan&tification,