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VII.

THE

INWARD WITNESS

ΤΟ

CHRISTIANITY;

ABRIDGED FROM

DR WATTS'

THREE SERMONS UPON THAT SUBJECT.

"He that believeth on the Son of God, hath the witness in himself."-1 John v. 10.

INTRODUCTORY NOTICE

OF

DR. ISAAC WATTS.

THE last Tract (founded upon WATTS' three Sermons on the Inward Witness to Christianity) is obviously, from its very nature, addressed to believers. But is it too much to entertain a fear that, through the impious industry with which Deism has of late circulated its obsolete quibbles, doubts may have been occasionally excited in the breasts even of the pious and the good? These doubts it is surely desirable to prevent, or to remove. At all events, we know where it is written, "Precept upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little. And who can tell whether, under the blessing of the Almighty, this delightful picture of peace and joy, reflected from the bosom of the sincere Christian, may not, in a blessed moment, woo the eye, and win the heart of some unhappy person, whom Infidelity has long kept a stranger to both one and the other!

Dr WATTS, who was born in 1674, underwent, in 1712, a violent attack of fever, which so shattered his frame, that he was obliged to intermit his ministerial labours among the Dissenters for four years. In consequence of this, Sir THOMAS ABNEY generously took him to his own house, where he spent the remaining thirty-six years of his life: And it would be difficult (says Dr AIKEN) to produce an instance of a connexion of friendship be

268 INTRODUCTORY NOTICE OF DR WATTS. tween literature and opulence so long, so intimate, so free from any discordant or unpleasing feelings, and in which the relation of patron and dependant were so thoroughly obliterated by the perception of reciprocal benefits. Such, indeed, was the gentleness and candour of Dr WATTS' nature, disarming him of all polemical rigour, that Dr JOHNSON himself could not but admire his "meekness of opposition, and his mildness of censure."

It has been asserted, that, " toward the close of life, he changed his opinions concerning the Trinity." But, estimated by his works, (from which, as Aiken justly observes, and not from unauthorized reports, a writer's sentiments are to be ascertained,) he must certainly rank among the decided advocates of orthodoxy. To whatever class he belongs, he must always be regarded as one of those, whose whole heart was devoted to the promotion of the best interest of mankind, and whose life would have done honour to any system of opinions.

THE

INWARD WITNESS

ΤΟ

CHRISTIANITY, &c.

THERE are two points of the greatest importance proposed for the investigation of mankind:

1. Whether the religion offered to their acceptance be divine; and,

2. Whether they have so far complied with its rules, as to be entitled to hope for its blessings.

Nursed up, however, as we have been, from our childhood in the forms of Christianity, we too generally take the first of these points for granted: and assuredly, strongly as it demands the attention of all who have leisure for the investigation, the principal concern of the unlearned is with the second.

But in the primitive ages of this Dispensation, it was far otherwise. The Gospel, at that time, was imperfectly established; and its disciples, seeing it opposed by the world at large, might occasionally waver in their belief of its truth. It was their duty, therefore, carefully to examine, whe

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