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Minister of the Gofpel, at HALIFAX, in YORKSHIRE.
For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish.
I Cor. i. 18.
GOD forbid that I should glory, fave in the cross of
Printed by GRIFFITH WRIGHT, 1766,
OME who chufe not to encourage labours of this kind, plead in excufe, that the world is full of books, and that many more are published, than are profitable, &c.-And others go further still, and make it matter of doubt, if men's morals are not made worfe by the multiplicity of publications on various fubjects year after year. As to the truth of what these affirm, I have neither leifure nor inclination at prefent to enquire into; this I think seems pretty clear, that as all men do not write with a design to instruct, so all do not read with a defire to be inftructed; but as fome write and publish with a view to their own profit and advantage, others purchafe and read with no other view, but to please and amafe themselves.
And perhaps this may not only furnish us with the most probable reafon of the above, viz. why men's morals are not mended by much reading; but may serve also to fuggeft to us another obvious truth, viz. that books of wit and pleafantry, &c. are generally preferred to those inftructive of the mind, and calculated to amend the morals. Hence, though much truth may be observed in the above objections, yet the charge is not well fixed; fee
ing the fault complained of, is either ift, In the reader, who either makes a wrong choice of books, and only reads fuch as were never intended, either to correct the faulty, or inftruct the ignorant; or, in reading those that intended both, with too much careleffnefs and inattention. Or 2d, Thofe books ought to be blamed, or the authors of them which rather terd to lead the mind aftray, than conduct it in the paths of piety and truth. Some object with the above, that there are as good books already wrote and published, as any we may expect; to which, I would only fay, it is not ufual (I prefume) to complain that a caufe is clogged with too many witneffes, nor does a truth contefted become more doubtful by having a greater number of evidences to defend it. If it fhould be faid the truth of the gofpel is fo univerfally received, and so firmly established, that further teftimonies are needlefs to be offered in confirmation thereof; I anfwer, in respect to myself (bleffed be God) and I hope the friendly objector this is true; but it is far otherwise in respect to the bulk of mankind. Nor need we look to the Jews, Turks and Pagans, who all want proof of the truth of Chriftianity; fo long as christendom fwarms with christian unbelievers, many of whom, though called by the name of Chrift, yet are continually labouring as much as in them lies, to fap the very foundation of chriftianity.
The following difcourfes were not penned, nor are they published fo much with a defign to confute the adverfaries of the gofpel (this I leave to abler pens) as fimply to maintain the truth; from this perfuafion, that error is most effectually confuted, by a manifeftation of the truth. I hope
alfo the following fheets may through a divine bleffing be made useful to confirm, and establish the minds of fome, who may not only doubt of the truth of gospel-doctrines, but of their own experience of the grace of God alfo.-If the candid reader fhould obferve any mistake that may have flipt both pen and prefs, as I doubt not but he will charge it to infirmity, I promise myself a pardon; and fhould he meet with any thing that may thwart his own received opinion, I hope he'll confider what is offered; before he condemn it, which after all fhould he think it neceffary to do, I expect he will moderate the fentence according to the equity of that rule, that what he requires, he'll not refufe to give; viz. the liberty of thinking. I only beg leave to add, what I have written in the following fermons, I have written in the fincerity of my heart, and with a view to do good; therefore, if this end be answered in any wife to any who shall read them, let the great God, even our Saviour Jefus Chrift have all the praise; for to him alone, the adorable Jehovah, Father, Son, and Spirit, in one undivided effence, all glory, might, and majesty are due in time and through the tractless depths of eternity.
HALIFAX, June 20, 1766. Titus Knight,