by Obadiah Sedgwick
This Treatise commendeth it self to thy acceptance upon a double account, the one is, the known worth of the Authour, the other is, the great usefulness of the subject matter: The Authour was Mr. Obadiah Sedgwick, no Novice in the things of God, but one that for a long time, both beyond the Seas, and at home, in City and in Countrey, did keep up the vigour of a convincing Ministery, which the Lord did abundantly prosper, to the converting of some, and building up of others, and no doubt to the conviction of many more, who shall one day know, that a Prophet of the Lord hath been amongst them: Besides, hee was one of an exemplary godliness, and of long experience in the waies of God; of whose excellent spirit the world hath had a sufficient taste, inthose choyse Treatises already published under his name; Certainly, from such an able head, and holy heart, nothing can bee expected that is cheap and mean.
It is a losse, a losse that cannot enough bee bewailed, that so eminent and usefull an Instrument, is now by Death taken away from his publick Ministerial labours: there is no murmuring against the hand of God, but the wasting of the Old stock of out able Ministers should bee more laid to heart; alass! wee that are to succeed in the Lords Work (I am sure I can accuse one) with what a weak and unequal pace do we follow their great examples? and being too too early, by the removal of such choyse instruments, put upon publick services, no wonder if wee faint under the burden.
It is some recompense for this losse, that this worthy servant of God, did (to honour his own Ministery, which was most consolatory) single out such Treatises as might bee of most use to publick benefit and edification.
The other reason, is, the usefulness of the subject matter. Of all Graces Faith is the chiefest, of the most universal and constant confluence on the spiritual life; Wee work by Love, but wee live by Faith. In the chain of Graces, described 2 Pet. 1:5, 6, 7. the first link is Faith, as giving strength and efficacy to all the rest; what is the grace that yeeldeth the Lord the glory of his Mercy, Veracity, and Power, but Faith? it honoureth God more than an uniform, entire obedience to the whole Moral Law in Innocency could possibly have done, and pleaseth him more than hee was displeased with the sin of Adam; All graces keep time and pace with Faith, if Faith bee weak, Love cannot bee strong, nor Obedience carried on in an even tenour, the back of Patience will soon bee broken, and Temperance exercise but a weak and feeble restraint on our lusts and passions, till wee learn to counter-ballance present Delights with future Enjoyments. Faith is the Eye of the soul, to see things to come, and the Hand of the soul, to receive Jesus Christ, and all benefits in him. Faith,——But I will not digresse into the common place; Certainly, no Treatise of Faith can bee unwelcome to a gracious heart, especially such a one as this is, where matters are carried on with such evidence and demonstration of the Spirit, and, as to the stile, with a sweet elegancy, and yet tempered with gravity and judgement.
I could speak more, but to avoid suspicion of partiality, and private affection to my worthy Predecessour and Father: I shall only adde this, it were pitty that so excellent a Treatise should come forth in an Age pestered with such a throng of needlesse Writers, but that it is likely to bee found out by its own lustre and brightnesse, like a sparkling Diamond, among an heap of Pebbles and common stones. Reader, I am
Thine in all Christian Offices,
Table of Contents
To the Reader
Chap.1. The dependence of the words
Chap.2. The words opened with the several Doctrines
Chap.3. Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ the only way to salvation
Chap.4. What believing in the Lord Jesus Christ doth import
Chap.5. Faith in Christ described
Chap.6. The object of justifying Faith
Chap.7. How it may appear, that to believe in Christ is the only way to be saved.
Chap.8. Consectaries from this doctrine, setting out the singular use of preaching and hearing of the Gospel
Chap.9. Our Justification to be found only in Jesus Christ
Chap.10. The difficulty of believing
Chap.11. The facility of error and mistake about believing
Chap.12. The sure and dangerous misery of unbelief
Chap.13. Rules for the discovery of Faith
Chap.14. Singular comfort for all true Believers
Chap.15. The Agreement and difference of a strong and weak faith
Chap.16. Exhortation to labour for saving faith
Chap.17. Of living by faith
Chap.18. The improvement of faith to a full assurance