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worthy the commendation of the wisest men, or the gratitude of the best.
The following discourses constitute the principal labours of their author in his ministry. The species of merit, on which the editor founds his hope of their being well received by the public, is their plainness : and it was with a reference to this quality that he has intimated in the title page the auditors to whom they were delivered. The reader is requested to carry this in his recollection while he peruses them: because it accounts for, and gives a value to, their great simplicity of composition, and unornamented language; and is, at the same time, a mark of the carefulness with which their author accommodated himself to the duties of his situation. How far he was successful in this branch of his Christian duty, the publication of them will enable many to judge; how well his conduct accorded with his precepts, can be known only within the limits of a less extended circle. Not a few, however, can bear testimony to a temper unruffled by accidents, and a cheerfulness which never degenerated into levity: to much learning, and great se
dulity to strict self-regimen: to a judgment which could discern frailties, and a candour which failed not to extenuate them: to affability which encouraged the reserved, and decorum which repressed the froward: to kindness in general intercourse, and warmth in particular friendship: to active charity and unwearied zeal for the relief of the temporal and spiritual wants of all around him. The few who knew him still more intimately witnessed the exact fulfilment of the duties of a Son, a Brother, an Husband, and a Father: and cannot plead the want of an example of that more extended Charity" which seeketh not her own, and thinketh no evil :" of that more exalted Wisdom, which "whoso findeth, findeth Life."
THE early and sudden death of the writer of these Sermons makes it certain that they were not prepared, or indeed intended, by him, for publication. They are the discourses he preached in the execution of his parochial duty. It is possible therefore that they may contain passages taken from other writers, and which are unacknowledged. The editor knows not that they are liable to this censure: wherever his own recollection has enabled him to make such a discovery, he has pointed it out: if more such instances are to be found (he trusts there are not) he begs the blame may rest with him, not with the deceased writer, who certainly never intended to have made this use of them. In fact, the editor was urged to publish the Sermons as he found them, by some of the neighbouring friends of the deceased: who having witnessed the good effects they produced in the parishes in which they were delivered, wished to give them a more extended circulation.
One topic which he urged with great earnestness and success, was a frequent attendance on the Sacrament of the Lord's Supper. Of his discourses on this subject but one will be found in this collection; because, in his life-time, he digested the others into the form of a pamphlet, which he published; and which was productive of very beneficial effects in his neighbourhood, as well by removing the scruples of the fearful, as by awakening the attention of the negligent, and informing the minds of the uninstructed.
This is a faithful saying; and these things I will that
thou affirm constantly, that they who have believed in
Strive to enter in at the strait gate: for many, I say