Imatges de pàgina

"in the daily views, and cheerful expectation, of the "Saint's everlasting Rest with God; and is left for a "little while among us, as a great example of the life "of faith." And Mr. Baxter himself says, in his preface to his Treatise of Self-denial, "I must say, that of all "the books which I have written, I peruse none so "often for the use of my own soul in its daily work as my Life of Faith, this of Self-denial, and the last part of the Saint's Rest." On the whole, it is not without good reason that Dr. Calamy remarks concerning it, "This is a book, for which multitudes "will have cause to bless God for ever."

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This excellent and useful book now appears in the form of an abridgment, and therefore it is presumed will be the more likely, under a divine blessing, to diffuse its salutary influence among those that would otherwise have wanted opportunity or inclination to read over the large volume. In reducing it to this small size, I have been very desirous to do justice to the author, and at the same time promote the pleasure and profit of the serious reader. And, I hope, those ends are, in some measure, answered; chiefly by dropping things of a digressive, controversial, or metaphysical nature; together with prefaces, dedications, and various allusions to some peculiar circumstances of the last age; and particularly by throwing several chapters into one, that the number of them may better correspond with the size of the volume; and sometimes by altering the form, but not the sense, of a period, for the sake of brevity; and when an obsolete phrase occurred, changing it for one more common and intelligible. I should never have thought of attempting this work, if it had not been suggested and urged by others; and by some very respectable names, of whose learning, judgment, and piety, I forbear to avail myself. However defective this performance may appear, the labour of it (if it may be called a labour) has been, I bless God, one of the most delightful labours of my life.-Certainly the thoughts of everlasting rest may be as delightful to souls in the present day, as they have ever been to those of past

generations. I am sure such thoughts are as absolutely necessary now; nor are temptations to neglect them, either fewer or weaker now than formerly. The worth of everlasting rest is not felt, because it is not considered; it is forgotten, because a thousand trifles are preferred before it. But were the divine reasonings of this book duly attended to, (and oh that the Spirit and grace of a Redeemer may make them so!) then an age of vanity would become serious; minds enervated by sensuality, would soon resume the strength of reason, and display the excellence of Christianity; the delusive names of pleasure would be blotted out, by the glorious reality of heavenly joy upon earth; every station and relation in life would be filled up with the propriety and dignity of serious religion; every member of society would then effectually contribute to the beauty and happiness of the whole; and every soul would be ready for life or death, for one world or another, in a well-grounded and cheerful persuasion of having secured a title to that rest which remaineth to the people of God.

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OF GOD.-Heb. iv. 9.


The Introduction to the Work, with some Account of the Nature of the Saint's Rest.

§ 1. The important design of the apostle in the text, to which the author earnestly bespeaks the attention of the reader. § 2. The saint's rest defined, with a general plan of the work. § 3. What this rest presupposes. § 4. The author's humble sense of his inability fully to shew what this rest contains. § 5. It contains (1.) A ceasing from means of grace; § 6. (2.) A perfect freedom from all evils; § 7. (3.) The highest degree of the saint's personal perfection, both in body and soul; § 8 (4.) The nearest enjoyment of God the chief good; § 9-14. (5.) A sweet and constant action of all the powers of soul and body in this enjoyment of God; as, for instance, bodily sense, knowledge, memory, love, joy, together with a mutual love and joy. § 15. The author's humble reflection on the deficiency of this


§ 1. It was not only our interest in God, and actual

enjoyment of him, which was lost in Adam's fall, but all spiritual knowledge of him, and true disposition towards such a felicity. When the Son of God comes with recovering grace, and discoveries of a spiritual and eternal happiness and glory, he finds not faith in man to believe it. As the poor man that would not believe any one had such a sum as a hundred pounds, it was so far above what himselt possessed; so men will hardly now believe there is such a happiness as once they had, much less as Christ

hath now procured. When God would give the Israelites his sabbaths of rest, in a land of rest, he had more ado to make them believe it, than to overcome their enemies, and procure it for them. And when they had it, only as a small intimation and earnest of an incomparibly more glorious rest through Christ, they yet believe no more than they possess, but say, with the glutton at the feast, Sure there is no other heaven but this! Or, if they expect more by the Messiah, it is only the increase of their earthly felicity. The apostle bestows most of this epistle against this distemper, and clearly and largely proves, that the end of all ceremonies and shadows, is to direct them to Jesus Christ the substance; and that the rest of sabbaths, and Canaan, should teach them to look for a farther rest, which indeed is their happiness. My text is his conclusion after divers arguments; a conclusion which contains the ground of all the believer's comfort, the end of all his duty and sufferings; the life and sum of all gospel promises and Christian privileges. What more welcome to men under personal afflictions, tiring duties, successions of sufferings, than rest? It is not our comfort only, but our stability. Our liveliness in all duties, our enduring tribulation, our honouring of God, the vigour of our love, thankfulness, and all our graces, yea, the very being of our religion and Christianity, depend on the believing serious thoughts of our rest. And now, reader, whatever thou art, young or old, rich or poor, I entreat thee, and charge thee, in the name of thy Lord, who will shortly call thee to a reckoning, and judge thee to thy everlasting unchangeable state, that thou give not these things the reading only, and so dismiss them with a bare approbation; but that thou set upon this work, and take God in Christ for thy only rest, and fix thy heart upon him above all. May the living God, who is the portion and rest of his saints, make these our carnal minds so spiritual, and our earthly hearts so heavenly, that loving him, and delighting in him, may be the work of our lives; and that neither I that write, nor you that read, this book, may

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