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he has been every way a workman who needed not be ashamed *. The great Mr. Rutherfoord in one of his letters from Aberdeen to the Author's mother says, “I re
joice to hear your lon is coming to visit Christ, and taste of his love: I hope he " shall not lose his pains, and rue of that choice.. I had always (as I. faid often to
you) a great love to dear Mr. John Brown, because I thought I saw Christ in “ him inore than in his brethren: Fain would I write to bim to stand by my sweet
Master; and I wish you would let him read my letter, and the joy I have if he “ will appear for and side with my Lord Jesus. This letter is dared in the year 1637, about which time 'tis probable the Author had been feruing forward for the ministry. He was settled at Wamphray a good number of years before his banishment, as appears by the dates he puts to his sermons, a large collection whereof, ant several other practical treatises, are yet unpublished; that the church should be deprived of any part of the labours of this eminent divine, is surely a very great piły.
If a more particular accouot of the life, fufferings and death of his great man, than what can be got, was here inserted, 'it would be certainly valuable and uselul; but seeing that during the latter part of his life, for his singular zeal and faithfulness to his Lord and Master, he was banished to Holland 1662 t, till about 1679, when he
died * If thou be not a stranger in our Israel, whoever thou be, then if either eminency in grace or learning. if vastness or pregnancy of parts, if fervour of zeal according to knowledge, if unwearied diligence in the work of the Lord, (wherein he laboured more abundantly than any of us all, for no man in the church of Scotland hath filled up his measure, even as to that; nor know, nor see I a man who is like to do it, nay, who is in capacity for it) if a holy heroic misregard of men, and their estimation, in approving himself to God, by a ready and resolute withstanding the corruptions of his time, and opposing all thele courses and contrivances, and these unworthy connivings, whereby the cause bath been prejudged, yea bafely abandoned, and the free course and progress of the gospel obstructed ; if single follicitousness, and ftrenuous endeavours how to have pure ordinances preserved in this generation, and propagate to the poHerity; in a word, if faithfulness as a servant in all the house and matters of his God, even that God, who counted him faithful, and put him in the ministry, and loyalty to his priocely Lord and Master, (the prerogatives of whose crow.., the privileges of wbose kingdom and the establishment of whose throne, were more prized by him, niore precious and dear unto him, than all other interests whatsoever; nay, he was so far from segarding any other interest, in respect of that alone valuable one, that as he was never daunted from a plain peremptoriness in owning thereof, by the dread of poor mortals, or the fear of what the stated enemy could do unto him; so he was never demurred into a forbearance, or brow-beaten into a base and on-ambassador becoming filence, by the displealure and discountenancings, even of such of his bretkren, whom otherwise he loved and highly honoured, as to a plain contending with them, wherein he perceived them not to walk uprightly, accoiding to the truth of the gospel, and to the former principles of that church, while she retained first love, and did first works; yea, he judged it duty (and in this he had the mind of Christ) to contend earnestly with them, for their not carnest contendings for the faith, tho’ for this he should have been contemned, and accounted, as he was, a man of contention :) I Say, if thou be such an one to whom such a blessed conjunction of rare gifts, with such a rich and plentiful measure of grace, can endear any man; I then nothing doubt, but Mr. BROWN, great and gracious Mr. Brown, hath such a place in thy soul, and such a preference to others, as thou wilt judge it fuperfluous in me to say any thing to commend what the truly great Elijah of his time, (I mean of this present time, when having served his generation according to the will of God, he fell adeep) the man jealous for the Lord God of Horts, above all his brethren whom he hath left behind him, I except not one soul.. MWard's Preface to be Swan-Song.
+ On the oth day of November 1662, the learned, zealous and pious Mr. John Brown miri?er at Wamphray, was ordered to be imprisoned for speaking against those who countenanced the diocesan alsembly's. Great were the hardships he underwent in prison, for he was denied even the neceffaries of life; and tho', because of the ill treatment he met with, he was brought almost to the gates of death, yet he could not have the benefit of the free air, until he signed a bond obliging himself to a voluntary banishment without cause. Crockshank's Hift, vol. I. P. 134.
diel of a lingering disease, few particular circumstances concerning hion have been transmitted to the place of his nativity. The cruel rage of his enemies could not be satisfied in going this length only with him, but the infamous Sharp was so mad against him and Mr. M.Ward, that he prevailed with the King to write to the States of Holland, to have thein re noved out of their provinces, but the Saces being convinced of the unreasonableness of such a demand, refused to comply with it 1.
The particular grounds and causes why he was thus inhumanly and barbarously treated, was his strict aitachment to, and maintaining the binding force and perpetual obligations of the nations solemn vows and covenants; his refusing acceptation of the then linful Indulgences ; -his publicly and strenuously testifying against the facrilegious usurpation of the regal and incommunicable head hip of the Lord Jesus Christ ia and over his church ; his public and zealous testifying against licentious tolerations, and the many other abounding wickednesses and defections that prevailed (and which alas! continues and are come to a prodigious heigh) for these and such like, was he violeotly thurst from his flock: yet the wisdom and goodness of Divine Providence is very remarkable, in that whilst his enemies meant it for evil to him, God meant it for good; tho', like Joseph, fold by unnatural brethren, yet was he sent to preserva life and comfort among his poor afiliated and persecuted brethren in Scotland, exposed to the blood-thirity rage and cruelty of their wicked, ungodly and apostate rulers : He wrote and sent over to Scotland inany useful and consolatory treatises, wherein he. discovers the true state of the teitimony of the church of Scotland, especially his remarkably eminen: piece entitled The Life of Faith in the time of trouble
, and SwanSong, and a number of ochers, some of which the circum tances of the times would not suffer his name to be prefixed.
His fingular judiciousness and honesty, in-being a faithful witness and wrestler for the purity of Reformation, appears very obvious in his piece entitled An Apologetical Reluzion, wherein he holds forth the dreadful and hainous nature of national perjury and covenant-breaking, and convincingly discovers that it is not in the power of the crious to shake themselves loose of their facred obligations, either as to the matter ors; manger of them; tho' to the great fhuine and unspeakable loss of these nations, the bulk an i body of them have not only once or twice discovered their contempt of obele lacred vows to the Moft High, but have still perated and continued in an open courie of backsliding upwards of these hundred years past *.
11. The next thing shall be very summarily to notice the scope of the inspired epistle, an 1 the expofition: It is very observable that the method of this epiitle is, ürít doctria nil, and then practical, which however distinct in theinselves, must never be separated; k is said, They that know thy name will put their truf in thee, Pfal. ix. 10. and, If any 7:in do his wiil, he shall know the doctrine, John vii. 29. In this epiftle the profound and deep myiteries and foundation priuciples of the gospel are laid open, such as the impuation of the First Adam's fin to his posterity; the imputation of the Second A. dau's righteousness to all his spiritual feed and off-spring, whereby their persons are zcep ed and fins pardoned; the doctrine of the adorable Trinity of persons and unity ofellence; the mysterious constitution of the person of our Lord Jesus Chrift; the doctrine of predestination; the union of believers with Christ; perseverance, sanctification, glorilication. This inspired writer lays the foundation of acceptance and salvation,
not See the resolution of the States, inserted in Wodrow's Hist. vol. I. P. 434, 435. See Apologetical Relation, pages 328, 343. Hift. of the Indulgence, page 132.
not upon the dim light of the Gentiles law of nature, neither on the Jews works of the law, but solely and wholly upon the perfe&t righteousness
, obedience and satisfacti. on of the Lord Jesus Christ, Being justified freely by his grace, through the redemption that is in Jesus Chris, Rom. iii. 24. Justification by faith without the works of the law, and the admission of the Gentiles, were the chief things the Jews stumbled at, which the inspired writer clears and vindicates from their gross and carnal notions. After having laid down a sure and stable foundation for practice, he finibes his epistle wich pecessary exhortations for Christians how to regulate their conversation, either considered as members of civil or ecclefiaftic society. This epistle by some has been called The Christian's Practical Catechism. Others have said of the plalms and Paul's epistles, that they were stars of the first magnitude and differ from the other stars in glory. It is said of Chryfoftom that he would have this epistle to the Romans read over to him twice a week. It will readily be granted that the deep and profound mysteries therein contained, render it a fubject very unmeet for ordinary or weak illiterate expositors to comment upon. What the inspired apoftle Peter fays, may be applied to this epistle, In which are some things hard to be undersiood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they de also the ot ber fcriptures, unto their own destruction, 2 Pet. iii. 16. It is likewise observable, that this epistle is put before the rest, not on account of its be: ing priorly wrote, but by reason of the great and weighty subjects it contains, and the dignity of the place whereto it is directed.
Our Expositor appears, either for mer hod, matter, or stile, very much a-piece with other Scois divines who commented on the scriptures, in his time; such as Durham, Dickson, Ferguson, Hutcheson, Nisbet, and others. He first very summarily thows the connexion and general scope of the text, then more fully deduces observations, natively arifing from, and contained in the words; wherein the irue sense and meaning of the text comes to be discovered. Nice critics, no doubt, will find fault with the fimpliciry and plainness of speech that the author uses, and because they will not find in this expofition, their favourable and presently fashionable embellishment, of what they call fine language; but it is presumed their censure will be very little regarded, as the language and composition, method and mater, to suber readers, will be found both clear, comprehensive, and orthodox; and excellently calculate for differencing the law and the gospel, and for dete&ting and confuting Arminian, Socinian, and Antinomian doctrine.
III. We shall now point out some of the grounds and reasons that seem to give occasion for this publication.
1. From what has been noticed above, concerning this place of facred writing, it appears, that such an exposition as the following, at this time, is very necessary, as none hitherto, in such a full and practical way, on this epistle, has been offered to the public. We have indeed the expofi ions of some of the author's venerable contemporaries, such as were just now mentioned, upon other places of sacred writing, but none of them on this place, except Mr. Dickson, in a very thort way of paraphrase. Mr. Hepry died when he advanced this length in the New Testament, and it is generally acknowledged his Continuators are confiderably inferior to himself.
2. At a time when so many false teachers, and false doctrines anent justification and juftifying faith, prevail and abound to luch a great height, where teems to be a necef. fary and particular call in providence, for both publishing and perusing scriptural and orthodox expofitions, borh for information and confirmarion of the church and people of God, when so imminently exposed to hurt and injury, by the fight and cunning crof
tinefs of men, whereby they lie in wait to deceive, by their good words and fair Speeches, the bearts of the fimple.
3. When the beautiful hedge of the government and discipline of the church is broken down and torn, so that the foulest principles and doctrines get leave to take place, and are entertained by such as hould be as he-goats before che pock, there is furely a loud call for every one who regard the welfare and salvation of their immor. tal souls, to take heed of what doctrines and spirits they receive, and try whether or not they be of God; as it is foretold by the Holy Ghost, that false ieachers shall coine in among the people, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lorit that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction ; ---and many jhull fulloru after their pernicious ways, by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil Spoken of, 2 Pet. ii, 1. 2. When the generality and bulk of a nation are left to poison their souls in eating and drinking what their shepherds have trodden and defiled with their feel, it is surely a called-for season to entertain wholesome truth and doctrine, such as has been already drunk in by the church for her real health and comfort
. It is the coun. fel of the good Shepherd who laid down his life for his sheep, If thoit know not, O tbou fairest among women, go thy way forth by the footsteps of the floek, Song i. 8. He tells us likewise, That no man also having drunk old wine will streightway defire new : for be faith, The old is better, Luke v. 39.
4. May it not be allowed a proper and necessary seafon for publishing and perusing the orthodox expositions and labours of those who have acted such a noble part, for maintaining the purity of the doctrine, worship, discipline and government of Chriit's eburch, as to fubject themfelves to the trial of cruel mockings, bonds, and imprisong mers, rather than betray the cause and eterest of their Lord and Master; when the fad marks of divine anger and wrath art gone forth against our guilty lands, where fome who bear the name of Presbyterian ministers, go the dreadful length of flarly de. Dying the binding obligation of our national, folemn, sacred Covenants
, and bonds of allegiance to the Most High; and scurrilously give out to the world, that our honoured reformers and martyrs for truth, in their framing and favouring these Covenants, were moved more with political and mercenary views therein, than the honour and glory of the church's Head and Lord. How fad an appearance is it, that such are so keenly disposed to have Christ in his truths and members crucified, that they are crying, Away with him; we will not have this man to reign over us. By fober thinking persons, our Covenants have been sustained as the antient land-marks which our fathers have fet, and which were made the perpetual basis of our naticnal constitution and government, which done may dare or presume to lift, alter, or model at their pleasure, but at the expence of the dreadful anathema entailed on all such. When once the bulwarks of a church and nation's constitution come to be removed, what a prey will they soon be for every destroying enemy to enter thereinto, and spoil and waste at their pleasure.
Ever since the decline of our national reformation, a set of pulpit men have arisen, who see themselves in direct opposition to the gospel and doctrine of Christ: instead of knowing nothing but Jesus Christ, and him crucified, they appear determined to know and teach some other thing of their own framing and invention ; rarely do they mention the name of Christ in their pulpit harangues, as if they were alhamed of this glorious pame; or when they mention hiin, it is only under the notion of a heavenly teacher and pattern of imitation, robbing him of the glory of his Deity and Godhead, and the merit of his obedience and righteousness; and thereby do they frame a gospel of their own fancy, intirely eversive of the gospel of the grace of God; not regarding
the terrible anathema, That if we, or an angel from heaven, should preach any other gospel, let him be accursed.
Morality in its finest dress, and true godliness in its greatest simplicity, do widely differ, both as to their spring and tendency; the one is bred in, and fomented by a carnal proud heart, the other flowing from a new.covenant flate of union to, and interest in Christ; the one tending to exalt self, whilst the other ascribes all to God, and the lovereignty of his grace.
The tendency of an evangelic and legal spirit and principle, will be found likewise vastly different: The true, 'filial, and heaven-born principle, will be for obtaining heaven and salvation in no other way, or upon any other terms, than the gospel proposes, which is without money or price; whereas the nature of a legal spirit will be for terms of its own, and for happiness without holiness; for resting on attainments and duties for its saviours, and for minching and modelling the covenant of grace into the old covenant of works; whilst the native tendency and language of a gracious principle will be, Let me have. Christ, elfe I die. lea doubtless, and I count all things but loss, for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, &c. Philip. iii. 8.9.
It may be justly lamented, that few know the meaning of true religion in its power and efficacy upon the heart, the generality being either carried down in a deluge of defection, inconsideration, and ignorance of a God in Chrift, or else driven to wild heights, extravagancies, and headstrong rigidness, busy in kindling and fomenting strife and division in the church; yet all the true lovers of Christ and his truths, may depend on the promise of him who is faithful, that they shall be kept safely, and when ready to be ensnared on the right hand or on the left, they shall bear a voice behind them, saying, This is the way, walk ye in it.
Judicious expositions of the holy 'scriptures have been reckoned the church's great treasure, and, when accompanied with the divine blefliog, are a happy mean for understanding the mind and will of God revealed. May the perusal of the following Lectures be
accompanied with a remarkable blessing, for the glory of God, and the benefit of immortal souls; and may the great Lord of the harvest Send forth moe faithful labourers, and preserve a seed in the ministry, and out of it, that, from time to time, thall be reckoned to him for a generation : To whom be glory in the church by Christ Jesus, throughout all ages, world without end. Amen.