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he has been every way a workman who needed not be ashamed *. The great Mr. Rutherfoord in one of his letters from Aberdeen to the Author's mother says, “ 1 res, “ joice to hear your lon is coming to visit Christ, and taste of his love: I hope he “ shall not lose his pains, and rue of that choice. I had always (as I. faid often to “ you) a great lore to dear Mr. John Brown, because I thought I saw Christ in o him inore than in his brethren : Fain would I write to him to stand by my sweer “ Master; and I wish you would let him read my letter, and the joy I have if he " will appear for and side with my LORD JESUS." This letter is dared in the year 1637, about which time 'tis probable the Author had been selling forward for the ministry. He was settled at Wamphray a good number of years before his banishment, as appears by the dates he puts to his sermons, a large collection whereof, ant several other practical treatises, are yet unpublished; that the church should be deprived of any part of the labours of this eminent divine, is surely a very great pity.
If a more particular account of the life, fufferings and death of his great man, than what can be got, vas here inserted, 'it would be certainly valuable and useful; but seeing that during the latter part of his life, for his singular zeal and faithfulness to his Lord and Master, he was banished to Holland 1662 t, till about 1679, when he
not upon the dim light of the Gentiles law of naturę, neither on the Jews works of the law, but solely and wholly upon the perfect righteousness, obedience and satisfaction of the Lord Jesus Christ, Being justified freely by his grace, through the redemption that is in Jefus Chrif, Rom. iii. 24. Justification by faith without the works of the law, and the admission of the Genciles, were the chief things the Jews stumbled at, which the inspired writer clears and vindicates from their gross and carnal notions. After having laid down a sure and stable foundation for practice, he finilhes his epiflle wich peceffary exhortations for Christians bow to regulate cheir conversation, either considered as members of civil or ecclefiaftic society. This epifile by some has been called The Chrifian's Practical Catechism. Others have said of the plalms and Paul's epistles, that they were stars of the first magnitude and differ from the other stars in glory. It is said of Chryfoftom that he would have this epistle to the Romans read over to him twice a week. It will readily be granted that the deep and profound mysteries therein contained, render it a subject very unmeet for ordinary or weak illiterate expositors to comment upon. What the inspired apoftle Peter says, may be applied to this epistle, In which are some things hard to be undersiood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other fcriptures, unto their own destruction, 2 Pet. ii. 16. It is likewise observable, that this epistle is put before the rest, not on account of its be: ing priorly wrote, but by reason of the great and weighty subjects it contains, and the dignity of the place whereto it is directed.
Our Expositor appears, either for mę hod, matter, or stile, very much a-piece with other Scois divines who commented on the scriptures, in his time; such as Durham, Dickson, Ferguson, Hutcheson, Nisbet, and others. He first very summarily Thows the connexion and general scope of the text, at then more fully deduces observations, natively arising from, and contained in the words; wherein the true sense and meaning of the text comes to be discovered. Nice critics, no doubt, will find fault with the fimplicity and plainness of speech that the author uses, and because they will not find in this exposition, their favourable and presently fashionable embellishment, of what they call fine language; but it is presumed their censure will be very little regarded, as the language and composition, method and matter, to fober readers, will be found both clear, comprehensive, and orthodox; and excellently calculate for differencing the law . and the gospel, and for dete&ting and confuring Arminian, Socinian, and Antinomian doctrine.
III. We shall now point out some of the grounds and reasons that seem to give occasion for this publication.
1. From what has been noticed above, concerning this place of sacred writing, it appears, that such an exposition as the following, at this time, is very necellary, as none hitherto, in such a full and practical way, on this epistle, has been offered to the public. We have indeed the expofi ions of some of the author's venerable contemporaries, such as were just now mentioned, upon other places of sacred writing, but
none of them on this place, except Mr. Dickson, in a very thort way of paraphrase. · Mr. Hepry died when he advanced this length in the New Testament, and it is generally acknowledged his Coprinuators are considerably inferior to himself.
2. Ar a cime when so many false teachers, and false doctrines anent justification and justifying faith, prevail and abound to luch a great height, where teems to be a necel. lary and particular call in providence, for both publishing and perusing scriptural and orthodox expofitions, borh for information and confirmarion of the church and people of God, when fo imminently exposed to hurt and injury, by the fight and cunning craf?
tinefs of men, whereby they lie in wait to deceive, by their good words and fair Speeches, the bearts of the simple.
3. When the beautiful hedge of the government and discipline of the church is broken down and torn, so that the foulest principles and doctrines get leave to take place, and are entertained by such as should be as he-goat's before the flock, there is surely a loud call for every one who regard the welfare and salvation of their immortal souls, to take heed of what doctrines and spirits they receive, and try whether or not they be of God; as it is foretold by the Holy Ghoit, that false ieachers shall coine in among the people, who privily Mall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lorit ibat bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction ;--- and many hull folloru after their pernicious ways, by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of, 2 Pet. ii. 1. 2. When the generality and bulk of a nation are left to poison their louis in eating and drinking what their shepherds have trodden and defiled with their feer, it is furely a called for season to entertain wholesome truth and doctrine, such as has been already drunk in by the church for her real health and comfort. It is the coun. fel of the good Shepherd who laid down his life for his sheep, If thoir know not, O tbou fairejt among women, go thy way forth by the footsteps of the flock, Song i. 8. He tells us likewise, That no man also having drunk old wine will. fireightway defire new :: for be faith, The old is better, Luke v. 39.
4. May it not be allowed a proper and necessary seafon for publishing and perusing the orthodox expositions and labours of those who have acted fuch a noble part, for maintaining the purity of the doctrine, worfhip, discipline and government of Chriit's eburch, as to subject themfelves to the trial of cruel mockings, bonds, and imprisonia mers, rather than betray the cause aadsinterest of their Lord and Master; when the fad marks of divine anger and wrath are gone forth against our guilty lands, where fome who bear the name of Presbyterian ministers, go the dreadful length of harly de. nying the binding obligation of our national, solemn, sacred Covenants, and bonds of allegiance to the Most High; and (currilousy give out to the world, that our honoured reformers and martyrs for truth, in their framing and favouring these Covenanis, were moved more with political and mercenary views therein, than the honour and glory of the church's Head and Lord. How sad an appearance is it, that such are so keenly difposed to have Christ in his truths and members crucified, that they are crying, Away with him; we will not have this man to reign over us. By fober thinking person, our Covenants have been sustained as the antient land-marks which our fathers have fet, and which were made the perpetual basis of our naticnal constitution and government, which none may dare or presume to lift, alter, or model at their pleasure, but at the expence of the dreadful anathema entailed on all such. When once the bulwarks of a church and nation's constitution come to be removed, what a prey will they soon be for every destroying enemy to enter thereinto, and spoil and waste at their pleasure.
Ever since the decline of our national reformation, a set of pulpit men have arisen, who set themselves in direct opposition to the gospel and doctrine of Christ: instead of knowing nothing but Jesus Christ, and him crucified, they appear determined to know and teach some other thing of their own framing and invention; rarely do they mention the name of Christ in their pulpit harangues, as if they were ashamed of this glo. rious pame; or when they mencion hiin, it is only under the notion of a heavenly teacher and pattern of imitation, robbing him of the glory of his Deity and Godhead, zod the merit of his obedience and righteousness; and thereby do they frame a gospel of their own fancy, intirely eversive of the gospel of the grace of God; not regarding
the terrible anathema, That if we, or an angel from heaven, should preach any other gospel, let him be accursed..
Morality in its finest dress, and true godliness in its greatest simplicity, do widely differ, both as to their spring and tendency; the one is bred in, and fomented by a carnal proud heart, the other flowing from a new.covenant llare of union to, and interest in Christ; the one tending to exalt self, whilst the other ascribes all to God, and the love'reignty of his grace.
The tendency of an evangelic and legal spirit and principle, will be found likewise vastly different: The true, 'filial, and heaven-born principle, will be for obtaining heaven and salvation in no other way, or upon any other terms, than the gospel proposes, which is without money or price; whereas the nature of a legal spirit will be for terms of its own, and for happiness without holiness; for resting on attainments and duries for its saviours, and for minching and modelling the covenant of grace into the old covenant of works; whilst the native tendency and language of a gracious principle will be, Let me have. Christ, elfe I die. T'ea doubtless, and I count all things but loss, for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jefus. my Lord, &c. Philip. iii. 8.9.
It may be justly lamented, that few know the meaning of true religion in its power and efficacy upon the heart, the generality being either carried down in a deluge of defection, inconsideration, and ignorance of a God in Chrift, or else driven to wild heights, extravagancies, and headstrong rigidness, i busy in kindling and fomenting strife and division in the church; yet all the true lovers.of Christ and his truths, may depend on the promise of him who is faithful, that they shall be kept safely, and when ready to be enInared on the right hand or on the left, they shall bear a voice behind them, saying, This is the way, walk ye in it.
Judicious expositions of the "holy 'scriptures have been reckoned the church's great treasure, and, when accompanied with the divine blefling, are a happy mean for understanding the mind and will of God revealed. May the perusal of the following Lectures be accompanied with a remarkable blessing, for the glory of God, and the benefit of immortal souls; and may the great Lord of the harvest Send forth moe faithful labourers, and preserve a feed in the ministry, and out of it, that, from time to time, thall be reckoned to him for a generation : To whom be glory in the church by Christ Je.sus, throughout all ages, world without end. Amen.