« PreviousContinue »
IN TWO VOLUMES:
BY THE LATE
Rev. JOSEPH MILNER, A. M.
MASTER OF THE GRAMMAR SCHOOL, AND
AFTERWARDS VICAR OF THE HOLY TRINITY CHURCH
TO WHICH IS PREFIXED,
AN ACCOUNT OF THE LIFE AND CHARACTER
OF THE AUTHOR,
REVD ISAAC MILNER, D.D. F.R.S.
DEAN OF CARLISLE,
AND PRESIDENT OF QUEEN'S COLLEGE, CAMBRIDGE.
Printed by Luke Hansard & Sons,
THIS Second volume of Sermons, selected from the manuscripts of the late Rev. Joseph MILNER, by the original Editor of the First, is offered to the Public with an earnest wish that it may prove equally useful and acceptable. The literary fame of the excellent Author has been less consulted in the selection than the edification of the Christian Reader. In all his ministrations, Mr. Milner was known to have had this object solely at heart, even to the utter contempt of every ornament of style, and display of learning. He thought with the Apostle, whom he so much admired, that to affect “wisdom of words” was to make the cross of Christ of none effect;” and that “to the poor the Gospel is preached,” is a circumstance which ought to characterize the labours of the servant as well as those of his Divine Master. This “ plainness of speech," though it may diminish the value of these Sermons, in the eyes of critics and mere readers of taste, will add to their value with humble persons, who in the simplicity and godly sincerity of their hearts are seeking instruction.
In turning over the MS. Sermons of his departed Friend, in order to make a proper selection, the Editor had two objects constantly in view. The one was to give a just and fair specimen of the Author's ordinary MANNER, or style of preaching. This indeed was so far accomplished in the First Volume, that many of those who had enjoyed the benefit of
Mr. Milner's personal ministry, were heard to say, that while they were perusing some of the Sermons contained in it, they seemed to be hearing the voice of the Author speaking to them from the pulpit. But having attended more to this point, in preparing the present Volume for the press, the Editor hopes he has now succeeded still better, and that the peculiar cast of instruction which distinguished the Pulpit Compositions of Mr. Milner, is so well
preserved in these Sermons, as to give them an increased interest with his surviving friends and hearers.
But the other object which he has had in view is of far more importance; and this was to select such Sermons for publication, as in the opinion of the Author himself, were he now alive, would be best adapted to the spiritual condition, and the “existing circumstances” of his audience. Now the Editor certainly knows, that during the latter years of Mr. Milner's life, his mind was deeply affected on account of the religious declensions and divisions which he saw taking place in the town of Hull. He thought he perceived a proud, worldly spirit, and the excessive love of gain, eating out the love of Christ, of his cause and people, in many who had once seemed to walk humbly with their God, to be zealous for the truth as it is in Jesus, and to provoke one another to love and to good works. He beheld with grief the awful progress of gross wickedness and vice, of lewdness and impiety, in that place. These evils he ascribed to its rapid increase in commerce, in wealth, in population, in buildings and in luxury. Against this subversion of religious principle and practice he failed not to lift up a warning voice; and had he lived to see how