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LIVES AND SUFFERINGS OF HIS HOLY EVANGELISTS, APOSTLES, AND DISCIPLES,
Who have scaled the Divine Truths of Christianity with their Blood.
WHOLE PROPERLY ADAPTED TO PROMOTE THE KNOWLEDGE
BY THE REV. J. FLEETWOOD, B. D.
I HE first and greatest object that should most materially engage the attention of mankind is, the pursuit of that knowledge, which tends to promote their welfare, while on this transitory stage of life, and their eternal happiness in that which is to come. No measures whatever can be taken to effect this, but the most earnest endeavours to make themselves perfectly acquainted with, and strictly to follow the example of, our Blessed Redeemer, the great Captain of our Sufferings---the Preserver of our Souls from death to life everlasting--the grand Pattern of Sanctity, Humility, Meekness, and Charity--- the King of Glory---the Guiding-star to Righteousness---and who, as he himself expresses it, is THE WAY, the TRUTH, AND THE LIFE.
As therefore, in our Blessed Redeemer only regts the whole of our eternal salvation, let him only engross our most serious attention ; and let the example of his apostles, who have sealed their faith with their blood, inspire us with resolution, and make us emulous to be accounted voluntary servants of Christ, who condescended to suffer an ignominious death, to clear us from our sins, 'that we might escape the punishment due to our manifold offences.
In seriously perusing the Life and Transactions of the Great Redeemer of Mankind, we shall there find those balmy Sweets, those Solid Comforts, which, if properly attended to, will promote our felicity here, and secure us eternal Happiness hereafter. If we endeavour to pursue the Divine System laid down by our Blessed Saviour, there is no reason to doubt but our Obedience will be crowned with that Reward, which he hath been pleased to promise to all those who imitate his glorious example. Our Lord himself tells us, that if we are poor in Spirit, we shall gain the kingdom of Heaven.--if we mourn here, we shall be comforted---if we hunger and thirst after Righteousness, we shall be filled. It is from these assurances, that St. Augustine says, “ The happiness of this Life consists in the Holy Ghost, without which we cannot come to the Knowledge of God.” All true knowledge, virtue, and perfection, that a Christian can desire, or attain to, are contained in the doctrines and transactions of our Glorious Redeemer ; who teaches us that Righteousness and Holiness consist in the inward Purity of the Mind, not in the outward Shew of Works---in a Conscience void of Offence ; not in the pompous Applause of Men---in Humility ; not in Ostentation---in Contempt; not in pursuit of worldly Honours : and he further teaches us to love our enemies as well as our friends. Here we read of the nature of true faith ; of trusting in Christ alone; and how we ought not to glory but in Him. Here we read also of the certainty of Salvation, the Forgiveness of Sins, the Resurrection of the Body, and of Life eternal.
• We most certainly hope, that the perusal of this Work will produce that effect for which it is so happily adapted, namely, the Promotion of the Cause of Christianity, and making Mankind wise unto Salvation. A serious attention to the Divine Transactions contained in this History, will fill the mind with awful, though pleasing ideas ; banish every doubt ; confirm the Reader in the most sublime Truths, and fill his soul with divine Extacies.
. We shall only farther observe, that in the execution of this Performance, we have endeavoured to improve the understanding and warm the heart; to inspire the mind with gratitude for the astonishing love of a dying Saviour, and excite the soul to embrace his kind invitations of forgiveness, of happiness, and of peace.