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F (as alledged in the tenth Letter of this
Book) the Public Reading the Holy Scriptures on the Lord's-Days in the Assemblies of Christians, is an Ordinance of God's Appointment, for the fpiritual Benefit of all sorts of Hearers, and is a Part of the Public Worship He requires from his People ; then it ought to be performed in every worshipping Aflembly of Christians, on those Holy Days : And those Congregations, and their Ministers, who have not used this Ordinance ought no longer to neglect it.
The following Queries are proposed to confideration.
1. As to those Ministers of Christ, who have not performed this Part of the Public Worship of God on the Lord's-Days, it is queried, Whether they are not guilty of diminishing from the Things, which the Lord hath commanded, and guilty of withholding from Him Part of the Public Worship which he requires; and guilty of withholding from serious Christians an Ordinance appointed for their further Instruction, Edification, and Comfort; and guilty of withholding from the ignorant and ungodly Persons, who may come to the Public Worship of God, what he ordained, as a Means of Knowledge, Conversion, and Salvation to their Souls ?
2. As to the People of those Congregations, it is queried, Whether they are not bound in Duty, for the Glory of God, and the Good of immortal Souls, to entreat their Ministers to perform this as well as the other Parts of Public Worship, that so they may enjoy the Advantages, and Comfort of Hearing the Holy Scriptures read every Sabbath Day?
See Col. 417. And say to Archippus, Take beed to the Ministry, which thou had received in the Lord, that thou fulfil it.
REDICTIONS, are all those Decla
the Holy Scriptures, which God by his Providence has brought, or will bring to pass; whether those Events be Punishments. or Blessings.
Thus the Declarations of the Destruction of Jerusalem, and of the Miseries which befel the Jews, were Predictions.
Thus the Declarations of the Deliverance of the Children of Israel out of Egypt, and from the seventy Years Captivity, were Predictions, and so indeed, are all the Threatnings God has denounced against the Wicked; and all the Promises of Blessings, which he has made to Nations, or particular Persons, who love and serve him, and keep his Commandments: And thus the Sacred Declarations in the two first of these Letters are Predictions.
The Providence of the righteous and faithful God, is always fulfilling his Word : Therefore David said unto God, I will praise thee with
kindness, and for thy Truth; for thou hast magnified thy Word, above all thy Name. Psal. cxxxviii. 1, 2.
God has done it above every other Way, in which he had made himself known; and he does so still, by bringing to pass the Events, foretold by the Prophets of the Old Testament, and by the blessed Jesus, and the Apostles, and Prophets of the New.
It is therefore incumbent on all Christians to take Notice of them, so far as they shall oome within their knowledge; and to observe the Dealings of the supreme Governour of the World, with their own Country, and their Neighbours, and likewise with themselves; whether the Events, which occur be merciful, or afflictive.
The Works of the Lord (both those of Creation, and those of his Providence) are great, fought out of all them, that have PleaJure therein. His Work (of Providence, as well as of Creation) is honourable, and glorious; and his Righteousness enduretb for ever. He hath made bis wonderful Works to be remembred. Pfal. cxi. 2, 3, 4. We ought therefore to observe, and remember them.
A DISREGARD of the Acts of the righteous and gracious God in his Government of the World, and more especially in what relates to our own Country, our own Ci
ties, and Families, and Persons; is a provoking Disregard of himself.
BECAUSE they regard not the Works of the Lord, nor the Operation of bis Hands, be shall destroy them, and not build them up. It is said Pfal. xxviii. 5.
The two first of these Letters were published, 1750. under the Title of Sacred Declarations, confidered, &c. and are now published again, with others subservient to the same Design.
I HAVE in these Letters collected a Summary both of the Law, and Gospel, and a Summary of the Predictions of Punishment appointed for the Wicked; and of the Predictions of Blessings for the Righteous, for all true Believers in this Life, at Death, and afterwards; and on these Accounts, it may be useful for Christians frequently to look into them.
The last Letter is added on the Account of the Importance of its Contents, and the many Advantages which may be obtained, by diffusing the Knowledge of the Holy Scriptures among the People.
In the poetical Lines cited in these Letters, I have here and there changed a Word to render them more expressive of my own Thoughts.