it is designed, and hope it is calculated, to promote piety toward God, and charity towards our brethren; and that there is not only something in it which may edify, but nothing which may justly offend, any good christian.
If any receive spiritual benefit by my poor endeavours, it will be a comfort to me; but let God have all the glory, and that free grace of his which has employed one that is utterly unworthy of such an honour, and enabled one thus far to go on in it, who is utterly insufficient for such a service.
Having obtained help of God, I continue hitherto in it, and humbly depend upon the same good hand of my God to carry me on in that which remains, to gird my loins with needful strength, and to make my way perfect; and for this I humbly desire the prayers of my friends. One volume more, I hope, will include what is yet to be done; and I will both go about it, and go on wth it, as God shall enable me; with all convenient speed; but it is that part of the Scripture, which, of all others, requires the most care and pains in expounding it. But I trust, that as the day, so shall the strength be.
THAT which has been just offered to the reader, was the reverend author's first draught of a Preface to this volume. He intended to revise it, if God had allowed him a return home from his late journey. But though, by the afflicting stroke of his sudden death, it wants the advantage of his last hand, yet serious readers will be well pleased to have his first sentiments on those important heads which there come under his consideration; especially since it contains his dying testimony to the Christian Religion the Canon of the New Testament, and the general usefulness of the sacred scriptures, on occasion of those debates which have been lately started, and made the most considerable noise in the world.
The Exposition itself, as far as the Acts of the Apostles goes, was entirely committed to the press before he left the City. The reader will perceive his intentions for the rest of the Holy Bible. But the sovereign providence of God, in whose hands our times are', has called this faithful and diligent servant to rest from his labours, and finish well himself, before he could finish this, and several other great and pious designs he had for the service of God and his church.
However, it may be acceptable to such as have often entertained themselves and their families with what is already extant, to let them know that we are not without hopes yet of seeing Mr. Henry's Exposition of the remainder; though it cannot be expected to be altogether so copious and complete as that which he himself prepared for the public. He drew up, several years ago, an Exposition of the Epistle to the Romans, which he had designed to transcribe with little alteration, for the beginning of his next volume, and was earnestly solicited to print it by itself, before he had thoughts of writing upon the whole Bible. For the rest, there are copies of his Expositions, both in public and private, taken from him by judicious writers ; wherein, though they may not be of equal length, yet Mr. Henry was used to express himself with like propriety, the same pious spirit, and uncommon skill in the Scriptures. There is encouragement to hope that the revising and preparing of these for the press will be undertaken (if God give life and health) by an intimate friend of the excellent Author, whose long acquaintance with his spirit and manner renders him the most proper person for that service; and his endeared affection will incline him to take the pains necessary for ushering them into the world. This course is apprehended to be much better than either to leave such a work unfinished, when it is already advanced so far, or to attempt the continuation of the design with a quite different set of thoughts, and another sort of style and method, that it may be as much Mr. Henry's as possible. But a reasonable time must be allowed before this can be expected. I pray God long to spare the valuable life of that dear friend of the Author, and every way furnish him for this good work, and all others he may undertake for the good of God's church.