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TO THE RIGHT HONOURABLE

MARTHA Countess of ELGIN and

KINCARDINE.

MADAM,
HE publication of the following Lectures

affords me an agreeable opportunity of testifying the high eftcem which I entertain of your Ladyship’s amiable character, and of the illustrious example whereby you have adorned your elevated station ;-and of expressing my grateful sense of the favour and

patronage

which I have received from

your

Noble Family.

IMPELLED by sentiments of respect and gratitude, I have the honour of presenting this small offering to your Ladyship, whose well-known sacred regard to the word of God, and whose warm attachment to the interests of true religion, fully justify, my inscribing to you an Ex

position

position of a most sublime and interesting part of the Holy Scriptures.— With fervent

prayers to the God of all grace for your temporal and eternal felicity, and for every blessing to all the Eranches of your amiable Family, I am,

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THE

PRELIMINARY DISCOURSE.

AR

, by the wisdom of God, for the instruction of mankind. Histories have been written, in which the great events of antiquity are distinctly recorded, the most illustrious characters are faithfully delineated, and the most important lessons are forcibly inculcated. Laws have been published, stamped with divine authority, showing the good and acceptable will of God, in the keeping of which there is a great reward ; and serving as' a lamp to guide our feet into the ways of righteousness and peace. Poetry hath displayed its attractive beauties and graces, with the happy design of captivating our hearts to the love and obedience of sacred truth, and stimulating our ardour in the practice of goodness. The great principles and duties of morality have been enforced in short proverbial sentences, furnishing' excellent practical rules of action, and recommending, by the most powerful motives, every part of good conduct. Sublime truths, and interesting discoveries, have been presented to view, respecting the Eternal God, the operations of his providence, the dispensations of his grace, and the glory of his kingdom, calculated to proA

duce

duce the most falutary effects. Prophecies have been delivered, at the distance of ages

from the predicted events, unfolding a scheme so astonishingly vast, and altogether unparalleled, as should strike awe and wonder into the hearts of men ; and make us conclude, that the subject, in which we are thus instructed, must be of the highest moment, and greatest concern to mankind.

This mode of instruction, though presumptuously affumed by fome Heathen oracles, is peculiar to the Most High God, with whom a thousand years are as one day, and to whom are known all his works from the beginning of the world. For this purpose he raised up successively a race of men, under the special direction of his Holy Spirit, who, for many ages, delivered one prediction after another, giving notice of the great events which, commencing in early ages, reacheth to the consummation of all things; particularly describing the dignity of our Redeemer's person, and the glorious purposes for which he came into the world. This method of conveying knowledge by prophecy, is, above all others, attended with many important advantages. It serves to raise admiration of that beneficent scheme devised by infinite wisdom for our recovery, and to convince men that the subject to which it relates must be of the lastconsequence to the inhabitants of this earth. It shows the truth of the facred oracles in the most striking light; and affords a proof, that is continually growing stronger, that the scriptures are the word of God. It also encourages us to entertain the pleasing hope, that the blessed designs

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