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THE

PREFACE

THE Substance of the following Pages was first preached in the Parish Church at Kidderminster in the Course of the Author’s stated Ministry. It was afterward preached in one of the largest Parish Churches in London, to an Auditory so much crouded, that one Nobleman was obliged to stand all the Time; and two others returned back, because they could not get within Hearing, tho’ Mr. Baxter’s Voice was remarkably loud and clear; and tho’ he himself had sent the Day before to desire Room might be provided for his Noble Friend: Even the Incumbent of the Parish had no other Place left for him, but to sit in the Pulpit behind the Preacher. To this last Circumstance Mr. Baxter refers, in an Elegy which he wrote on the Death of that Reverend Brother, inserted amongst his Poetical Fragments, wherein he says,

At once one Pulpit held us both.”

Here Indifference in Religion is traced up to its real Sources; its destructive Nature and Tendency faithfully represented; the best Remedies are applied, in Order, by a divine Blessing, to check its almost universal Prevalence. With what Propriety and Seriousness does the Author’s Preface say,—“It is the ivslighting of Christ and Salvation, that undoes the World. O happy Man, Reader, if you escape but this Sin! Thousands split their Souls on the Rock, upon which they should be built. Look among Rich and Poor, High and Low, Young and Old, and see whether it appears not, by the whole Tendency of their Conversation, that they value something else more than Christ. Notwithstanding the Proclamations of his Grace in the Gospel, and the common Profession of being his Disciples, and of believing the glorious Things he has promised in another World; does it not appear, by Deceitfulness in his Service, by heartless Endeavours to obtain his Kingdom, and by busy and delightful Pursuits of the present World, that the Generality of such as are called Christians, are really making light of Christ? And if so, what Wonder if they perish by their Contempt? Will you but seriously read, and well consider as you read, till your Heart be sensible what a Sin it is to make light of Christ and your own Salvation, and till the Lord that bought you, be advanced in the Esteem and Affections of your Soul; this will fulfill my Desires.”—And this will indeed fulfill the Desires of those who first requested this Abridgment, and also, of its Compiler.

B. F.

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