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They contain blessings of all sorts, of the most er. cellent nature, and suited to every circumstance. As man is made up of body, as well as fpirit, and the necessities of this present life must be provided for, as well as his happiness secured in the next ; in the Promises abundant care is taken of both, and provifion is made for the peace, comfort, and welfare of the Christian, both in this, and in the other world. He is assured of the several necessaries and conveniences of this life, in such a measure, as Infinite Wisdom fees best for him. And since we are exposed to various troubles and calamities, there are many Promises made with relation to them ; either that we shall be preserved from those afflictions, or, if it be necessary we should be exercised with them, that we Thall be powerfully supported under them, and in the best time and way, delivered from them, after that they have been made to answer the most excellent ends upon us. Nor is it easy to say, what a vast variety of confolations are provided for our relief in those trials. But, however valuable, considering the circumstances of our present state, the Promises relating to temporal enjoyments and afflictions, may be, they are not to be compared with the excellency and glory of those spiritual and eternal blessings, with which we are blessed in Christ Jesus, and of which we have the most clear, full, and express Promises in the gospel. Therein, how great, how particular a regard is had to the condition of fallen, sinful man ! What care is taken to ease the conscience under the burden of guilt, and the apprehensions of Divine wrath, by the most gracious promises of pardon and mercy! What assurances given of reconciliation and acceptance with God, through the blood and intercesfion of the Redeemer ! To what glorious privileges and high honours is the Christian advanced ! Such as, the adoption of children, a kind regard to all his
prayers, the ministry of angels, and an interest in the grace, love and fellowship of God the Father, and of his eternal Son and Spirit. In the Promises is contained all that grace which is requisite to refine and ennoble our natures, to enlighten our understandings, to regulate our wills, and purify our affections ; to preserve us from sin, and all the contrivances and snares of the devil and the world, and to exalt us to the highest perfection of holiness and happiness.
The manner, in which these blessings are promised, still further adds to their value. They are not expressed in general or ambiguous terms, but with greatest clearness and perfpicuity. God would not leave his people at an uncertainty, concerning his kind intentions towards them. If the meaning of the promise feem doubtful in one place, it is abundantly cleared up in several others. Nor is it only here and there in some few passages, or in a cold and reserved manner, that God has signified his good will ; but, upon the account of our dullness and flowness to believe what God has promised, he has both made use of the strongest words and phrases that language could furnish out, and has over and over, in great variety of expression, often repeated the assurances of his favour. He has contrived his Promises so, as to meet with all our objections, and remove all our doubts and fears : And herein he has been pleased to shew an affection, tenderness, and condescension, which could not be expected from an earthly prince to his subjects ; much less from the great and glorious majesty of heaven and earth, to sinful dust and ashes.
But what doth in the highest degree enhance the worth and excellency of the Promises, is, The evidences we have, that they shall certainly be made good ; since, as the apostle argues, Heb. vi. 17. 18. we have for them both the word and oath of that God that cannot lie, that so we might have strong con
folation, folation, who have fled for refuge, to lay hold upon the hope fet before us. And of the covenant thus confirmed, Christ the Son of God is made the Surety, Heb. vii. 22. having ratified it by his own blood. And that all the ever-blessed Trinity might concúr in establishing' our faith upon the strongest foundation, the Holy Spirit of God witnesses to the truth of the Promises, by his miraculous operations, when first poured forth upon the apostles, and by his fanctifying influences upon the hearts of all true Christians, both then, and ever since. Hereby he inspires into them a lively hope, and furnishes them with well-grounded evidences of their interest in the promises ; and their hope makes them not albamed, because the love of God is goed abroad in their hearts by the Holy Ghost, which is given unto them, Rom. v. 5.
The Promises therefore of the gospel being of so excellent a nature, and confirmed to us by such authority and evidence, cannot but have very great and happy influences upon the mind, when seriously ate : tended to, and applied with faith ; especially as they are the means by which the Spirit of God carries on his work upon the soul. They are the strongest arguments to persuade the finner to turn to God, the greatest encouragements to a humble, believing de pendance upon the grace of Christ in the gospel, and the most powerful motives to fincere and universal obedience : Since by them we are assured, that every penitent finner shall find the most gracious acceptance ; that from the grace of Christ we shall derive sufficient strength and capacity for every duty; and that in keeping God's commands there is great re, ward. So that would we but duly consider the several Promises made to every exercise of grace, and every performance of duty, what a fpur would this be to quicken our slow pace in the ways of holiness! What an encouragement to be stedfast and immoveable,
always abounding in the work of the Lord, forafmuch as we know that our labour is not in vain in the Lord, 1 Cor. xv. 58.
A Fixed, constant attention to the Promises, and a firm belief of them, would prevent folicitude and anxiety about the concerns of this life. It would keep the mind quiet and composed in every change, and support and keep up our sinking spirits under the several troubles of life. In the multitude of my thoughts within me, thy comforts delight my soul, Pf. xciv. 19. Christians deprive themselves of their most solid comforts by their unbelief, and forgetfulness of God's Promises. For there is no extremity so great, but there are Promises suitable to it, and abundantly sufficient for our relief in it.
A thorough acquaintance with the Promises would be of the greatest advantage in prayer. With what comfort may the Christian address himself to God in Christ, when he considers the repeated assurances that his prayers shall be heard? With how much fatisfaction may he offer up the several desires of his heart, when he reflects upon the texts wherein those very mercies are promised ? And with what fervour of fpirit, and strength of faith, may he enforce his prayers, by pleading the several gracious Promises, which are expressly to his case ?
Further: Great assistance and encouragement may the Christian derive in his spiritual warfare, when he takes a view of the many Promises of grace and strength, to mortify fin, and to resist the devil ; of success, and a final victory in his conflicts with the enemies of his salvation ;, and of an incorruptible crown of glory, to be given him as the reward of his firmness, constancy and perseverance. A great dead more may be said, but that I would not too much en. large this Introduction, to shew of what excellent use
the Promises would be, if duly attended to, to promote all the exercises of the divine life, and to inspire into a good man comfort and joy in every state of life.
That the Christian might have before him, in one view, the many great and precious Promises scattered up and down in scripture, and in such a method, as easily to find what is suitable to his case, I have drawn up the following Collection. The occasion indeed, of my first ertering upon it, was to assist some young persons, who very commendably, and to their great advantage, are employed in improving themfelves, and one another, in the knowledge of the scriptures ; one of their exercises being to treasure up in their memories, and question one another upon the Promises, under their several heads. At first, I intended to put together a small number, upon some principal subjects; but, upon searching the scripture, more and more texts still offering themselves, which I thought equally to my purpose, the Collection at length grew fo large, that the taking so many copies as were wanted, would have been a tedious work : for which reason, and in hopes it might serve the same useful end to others, I at lait gave way to its being made public. Since I completed it, I have examined some other Collections I have met with, and have added out of them those few texts, which I had not before observed ; so that, I believe, this is the fullest collection of the kind of any extant, at least that I have seen.
I have endeavoured to put them together in such a method, as might be easiest and fittest for common use. I have not increased the heads to so great a va. riety of particulars, as some may expect ; both beeause too many divisions rather confound, than aslift the memory, and also the applying of the Promises to cales too particular, would bave too much confined