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In making the following selections, I have, for obvious reasons, omitted those works of this venerated author which are familiar to the Christian public ; and have been guided by a desire to provide a book suited to the wants of private Christians, and of Christian families. Had it been my object to afford the theological scholar the means of judging respecting Baxter's opinions and his modes of reasoning on disputed subjects in divinity, these two volumes would have been made up of very different materials.
The writings of Baxter are distinguished, even above those of his cotemporaries, by the peculiarities of the man and of the age in which he lived. Those only who know what the author was, what were the vicissitudes through which he passed, what were the changes and commotions of the times in which he lived, and what were the men with whom he had to do, can enter fully into the spirit of his writings. It is simply with a view of helping the unlearned reader to a knowledge of the man and of the age, that the Life of Baxter has been prefixed to this selection from his works. Literary men and theologians will find the
more extensive and labored work of the late Mr.
Orme on the same subject, much better adapted to their use.
When I began the preparation of these volumes, I expected to see the end of them much earlier. But I thank God that while I was studying the writings and the history of this eminent saint, and was seeking to imbibe that spirit which made him so successful a pastor, my studies were interrupted by a signal revival of the work of God among the people of my charge. Whatever delay has attended the publication, has been caused by this happy interruption.
Now reader, let these devout and searching treatises have that attention which they deserve. Read to learn what truth is, and to receive the truth in love ; to learn what duty is, and to do it.
New Haven, Oct. 28, 1831.
CONTENTS OF THE FIRST VOLUME.