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ignorant minds may think we are idly employed, and that our objects are insignificant because 4hey are small; but whoever shall examine small things, will find them full of wonders > and that God is every where great in the smallest of his works; agreeably to that wise observation of Pliny, Rerum natura tota est nusquam magis quam in minimis, his power and providence are as manifest in the ceconomy of an inseft, as in the revolutions of an empire. The philosopher sees wonders in Nature, which the multitude pass by with unconcern; and the botanist explores minutely what others trample under their feet. The wisest and the most inquisitive, with the utmost of their application, can see but a part of the works of God; and the most studious reader can understand but a part of his word; among the treasures of which, as in the bowels of the earth, there are gems and precious ores, which lie so deep, that they have never been disturbed by the hand of man. We can produce only so far as we can penetrate; and when we have
T 2 done done cur best, the work will not be acceptable to every mind; so far from it, that I dare not yet trust the following Discourse with the pub^ He; among whom there are two many persons, like the Jews of old, whose eyes if we attempt to open, we shall increase their blindness; and I know, from the experience of my past life, how critical and tender the case is. Such persons I do not mean to hurt, and I should be sorry to offend them. I, therefore} print this Discourse, with a desire, that it should fall into the hands of those only who are prepared, by what they have already seen in the other lectures^ to give it due consideration.
A . le,arned and judicious friend (now with God) whose prudence, in,my estimation, was almost oracular, had a. sight of all the lectures before their publication, and, preferred this, in some respects, to the rest; but advised me not to publjsh it with them at first, lest evil-minded people, should take advantage from it, to bring the whole plan into disrepute; but to reserve it till the rest, had been considered, and then to
let let it be seen by my readers. I took the former part of his advice twelve years ago, and now I think the time is come when I may take the latter; imploring the Divine blessing on what I now commit to the press; that, as we see more intimately into the ways of God, we may daily love him more, and serve him better. Amen. <
Many good Christians, who read the word of God with a desire to profit by it, and have been taught, that whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning (Rom. xv. 4.), have their doubts concerning the use of many thingstheyfindinthe Scripture ; not being able to see how they can answer that general design of adding to our learning, and thereby leading us to more patienceandcomfort. The apostle takes a passage from the psalms of David, and understands Jesus Christ to be the speaker of it; and lest we should wonder or be offended at this use of the Scripture, he tells us the rule is general, that the things written aforetime are to be thus applied to Jesus Christ; without which they are nothing to us as Christians, neither shall we find in them the comfort they were intended to give. In the way I shall take of illustrating this doctrine, I shall bring strange things to the ears of some people, and such as they will never be able to receive; yet others, who will receive them, and be edified by them, as primitive Christians were, ought to have a sight of them.
I once met with a person, a clergyman of no mean learning, who, not having observed how things are related to one another in the great plan of redemption, objected to the use of the Magnificat, in the service of the church, as a form that could have no relation to us. The virgin Mary, he said, being the mother of Christ, might very properly use the words of that hymn; but that they could not belong to us, nor be used by us, with any propriety. To this it was answered, that as Jesus Christ did not come into the world for the purpose of making the virgin Mary a mother, but to save mankind, every Christian soul has reason to rejoice with her. Christ, who was formed in the blessed virgin, is also formed in us *; and the mother of Christ, like Sarah, the mother of the promised seed, in her spiritual capacity, is T 4 a figure
* Gal. iv. jg.