« PreviousContinue »
liness, that the constraining love of Christ is the most powerful motive to obedience, that it is the property of true faith to overcome the world, and that the true church and people of Christ have endured his cross in every age; the enemy has thrust sore at them, that they might fall, but the Lord has been their refuge and support; they are placed upon a rock that cannot be shaken, they are kept Cppoupoupleyos] guarded and garrisoned by the power of God, and therefore the gates of hell have not, cannot, shall not prevail against them.
Per damna, per cædes, ab ipso
A REVIEW of Ecclesiastical History, upon the plan proposed in the Introduction, is a subject of so much extent and difficulty, that, if I had not entered upon it before my admission into the ministry, I believe I should not have attempted it afterwards ; for I soon found that the stated care of a large parish, and a due attention to the occasional occurrences of every day, would leave me but little leisure for the prosecution of my design. Upon these accounts it was wholly intermitted for several years; and my progress since I have resumed it, has been so slow, and my interruptions so many, that I had almost determined to content myself with publishing, in a single volume, a Review of the First Century. However, a desire of completing the work has prevailed, and I send this abroad with the title of a first volume, because I hope it will be followed by more, if the great God, who has the sovereign disposal of his creatures, shall be pleased to afford me a conpetent measure of health and ability for the service ; but if he should see fit to appoint otherwise, I hope what I now offer to the public (though but a part of my intended plan) may suffice to show how little just ground there is for the insinuations and invectives which have been so plentifully thrown out against the preachers and professors of those doctrines which were once esteemed the life and glory of the Protestant name.
I cannot expect that all my readers will be pleased. with the application I have made of New Testament facts to the state of religion in our times; but as I am not conscious that I have written a single line with a view to provoke or intlame, I have oniy to entreat a ccandid perusal, and to commit the issue to Him whoin
I desire to serve with my spirit in the Gospel of his Son. I have long thought an attempt of this kind would be seasonable, I pray that it may be useful. If it should in any measure contribute to remove or soften the prejudice by which great numbers are pre
vented from attending to the one thing needful, and : induced to speak evil of that which they know mot,-/ shall account my time well employed. i I hope I have been influenced by no motives but the love of truth, r and a desire to promote the welfare of inuiortal souls, 4 and therefore have expressed a my sentiments: with : plainness and freedom, as I think it behoves every
one to do, when treating on subjects in which the truths of God and the souls of men are immediately concerned.
Olney, November, 1769.
JOHN NEWTON. A REVIEW