Introduction.

ALL visible Nature is but a Picture of the Grace of Christ. As every Work of GOD tends to effect or demonstrate the highest Goodness and Glory; so, therefore, the Creation and Arrangement of this World, having no sublimer End, were ordained to express his Bounty in the Salvation of Man. There is not an Object about us, but which declares the Nature, the Necessity, or the Perfection of that Salvation. The Wisdom of GOD is written upon every Substance and Property, or worked into their very Frame and Texture, in the most bright and indelible Characters. We may truly say, with the Poet,

The World’s a System of Theology.

The invisible things of GOD from the Creation of the World are clearly seen, being understood by the Things that are made. It is Man's Ignorance alone, an Ignorance brought in and supported by Sin, which keeps him from those ravishing Contemplations of Truth, Beauty, and Glory, which GOD has placed upon the whole Creation, and which constitute one great Part of Happiness here and hereafter. It is a sad Truth, that Men may be knowing enough in those Things, which rife or have risen from the little Cunning or Power of their Fellow-mortals; that they may reflect upon the Histories of Nations, and the Rise and Fall of Empires; investigate the Science of ancient or of modern Schools, and know all that can be known from Hermes down to Newton; while, with all this Skill in things merely human, they may be exceeding ignorant of the most important Purpose of GOD in the Formation of every Object about them. To such the splendid Universe is but a sumptuous Raree-ihew, having no Use but superficial Speculation, which leaves the Heart as before, or, if in any respect altered, only swollen with the Conceit of its own Importance and Superiority among Mankind. For an End like this, Study is, to say the best, but solemn Trifling; and consequently the most ingenious, without Grace, can but

See Nature in some partial narrow Shape And let the Author of the Whole escape.

How possible is it to know the various Characters and Languages of the most distant Ages, and not be able, at the same time, to understand one single Letter in the Alphabet of GOD? And on the other hand, to the Confusion of Man's proud Understanding, how, truly may it be observed, that the Mind may be extremely ignorant in all human Letters or Learning; and yet be most happily and graciously filled in the Wisdom and Knowledge which endure for ever ?

It may also be justly deplored, that even true Believers, who have obtained some of the Rudiments of this most invaluable Wisdom, make but too slow a Progress after further Attainments; and that they can carelessly pass over thousands of heavenly Lessons, inscribed upon all surrounding Objects in such beautiful Impressions, as might animate their Hearts to love and adore the gracious Hand which drew them.

It is the Design of this little Piece to collect a few of these sacred Instructions, which GOD has marked upon ALL about us, that the Reader, by perusing these imperfect Hints, may be prompted to consider upon what he treads, and, while he pastes by a thousand inanimate Substances, may read what is written upon them. He may indeed go forth and read on; for the Lesions are infinite, and the Knowledge is unbounded. It is a large Book which GOD has opened in his Works; and he has given a lively Commentary upon it in his Word. The one consists of living Hieroglyphics; and the other contains the Characters, which explain them. They do not contradict each other, nor talk of different Themes. Created by CHRIST and for CHRIST, there is a mutual and delightful Harmony through their respective Frames; and when harmoniously understood, a double Glory is seen in both. While the Reader meditates, therefore, let him pray for the Instruction of that Divine Spirit, who formed these sacred Types, that he may both comprehend their Purpose and apply them to Use. With this holy Instructor, his Garden will be like Eden, full of delightful Fruit, and his Field become a Spot, which the Lord has blessed.