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taketh pleasure in those who hope in his mercy." “As a father pitieth his children, so the Lord pitieth them that fear him. For he knoweth our frame: he remembereth that we are dust." The blessed Redeemer “came into the world to save sinners—to seek and to save that which was lost.” And, to increase our gratitude and trust, he has graciously assured us, that " there is joy in the presence of the angels of God, over one sinner that repenteth.”— These, and many other passages in the Holy Scriptures, afford an abundant source of consolation and encouragement, to the truly humble and penitent believer in Christ. And when applied to the heart by Divine Grace, they produce in us a holy confidence and joy.
Though the love and mercies of God are great beyond expression, yet, for wise purposes, his children are not all equally favoured by him, on the bed of languishing and death. But they are all permitted to
hope, that, when this awful period approaches, He will preserve them from being distressed with mournful retrospects on the past, or with gloomy apprehensions of the future: that redeeming love will calm their fears and disquietudes ; sustain them under every conflict; and animate them with the prospect of being soon admitted into the mansions of eternal felicity.
In the latter editions of this work, the author has been solicitous to make it acceptable, not only to persons of mature years, but also to many in younger life. As the characters which it contains, exhibit a great variety of striking and animating views of piety and virtue, and strongly recommend the Christian religion in particular; he indulges a hope, that instructers of youth will deem it a suitable book to be read, occasionally, by the higher classes of their pupils. It is of great importance to impress young minds with favourable sentiments of virtue and goodness; and to convince them, by practical evidence, that religion affords the best support and enjoyment, in this life, and the only sure ground of happiness in the world to come.
To render the performance more instructive, as well as more interesting, the author
has introduced into it many important moral sentiments, and many reflections of a religious nature, as well as a considerable portion of useful, biographical information. The introductorynarrativesrelative to the subjects of the work, will, he presumes, be found intimately connected with its chief design. They gratify curiosity, respecting the general character of the persons whose solemn sentiments are exhibited; they confer additional importance on the testimonies in favor of religion; and they relieve the mind from the effect, which a succession of deeply serious matter would occasion.
Some passages in this work, have, in point of orthography or grammatical construction, been rectified ; and a few words and phrases have been altered, to adapt them better to the subject, or to present usage.