The Preface.
Courteous Reader, -- It floweth more from that observance -- not to say honour -- which is due to the laws of custom, than from any other motive, that the stationers hold it expedient to salute thee at thy entry into this book, by any commendatory epistle, having sufficient experience, that books are oft inquired after, and rated according to the respect men generally have of the author, rather than from the matter contained therein, especially if the book be divine or serious; upon which ground this treatise might have come abroad merely upon the virtue of the title page, -- Mr. Hugh Binning being so well known, and his other treatise so universally, as deserving, received by the intelligent and studious in the great mysteries of the Trinity, and other dark principles of the Christian faith.

Yet if worthiness of matter -- as the curious carved stones of the temple were to the disciples -- be amiable to thine eyes, and nervous sentences, solid observations, with a kind of insinuating, yet harmless behaviour, be taking with thy spirit, here they are also, and acquainting thyself with them, either as the sinner or the saint, which thine own conscience shall best inform thee of, there shall be virtue found to proceed from them, either for thy souls refining from the dross of this corrupt age, or to a diligent heed taking to preserve thyself pure from the pollutions which are in the world through lust, to be more and more pure against the day and coming of Christ our Saviour.

Though many elaborate pieces are already extant, and treatises of many worthies of the church be already abroad upon this golden chapter, yet he who hath seen the manyest, and knows the sublimity and darkness withal the excellency of the subjects therein treated, shall know this work, or lamp, to have its weight and light and though small, yet as a candle, shall increase, and add to those lights already burning upon the table of his memory or museol.(156) There is but one Spirit, one faith, one baptism, yet about and in these, there are diversities of gifts, and though all men naturally have but one face, yet the variety to be seen in each one, procureth both wonder and delight, there being in every one something new, something which makes it differ from all other. There is here to be found something enlarged, enlightened, and applied, which in other volumes may not be heeded, or but slenderly touched, or if it were otherwise, here it is in some other way, method, or expression; besides which, there is no new thing under the sun. And have we not, nay, choose we not, to have variety of gems, agates, rubies, and diamonds shining about us, some squared, some angled, each having their own excellency, because so formed? If this instance take not, it is because the children of this generation are wiser than the children of light.

That the work is imperfect, is for a lamentation save for this, that while the author was contemplating upon the Spirit of adoption, and being with God, the Spirit called upon him by death, as the voice did upon the divine, saying, "Come up hither, and I will show thee," Rev. iv.1. So that what David said of the waters of Bethlehem, may be said of this lame orphan, "Is not this the blood of this good man?" The great and wise Master builder of the church, giving this young man order to lay the foundation, and raise the building but thus high, appointing, it must be, some others to perfect and lay on the roof, yea, possibly it is squared and framed already for thy use in other treatises, and thyself to perfect the edifice of the salvation, by joining this and that together in thy practice. Mr. Hugh Binning, showing thee in his lot, how to be rid of, or delivered from the law's condemnation, ver 1, and some other in his quarter to demonstrate because of that, "neither height nor depth shall be able to separate thee from the love of God," ver.39 of this chapter.

Had this work come directly from the authors own hands, he had spoken in his own style, his own mind; but that being denied, receive this posthume infant, as David did Mephibosheth, first, for its father's sake, next for its own. Though it be lame in the feet, yet it is of goodly countenance, and speaketh so well, that its language hath got an imprimatur, and where it is silent rest satisfied with that old refreshing cordial in such cases, caetera desiderantur.

lecture xxv of the way
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