« PreviousContinue »
the bounds of our habitation, has been pleased to place us, may suggest a reply to this important query. The more eligible methods of imparting instruction, are dictated by an attentive regard to such circumstances; as language or allusions adapted to the metropolis, or large mercantile towns, would be scarcely intelligible to those whose labors are chiefly agricultural. Wisdom is profitable to direct. *
To do good, is to do the specific good which belongs to our calling; and can any with propriety censure him, whose profession is to teach, if he wishes to render what is delivered from the pulpit, more permanent, by committing it to the press ?
* Vide Griffin's Sermon on the Decline of Religion, pp. 56. A discourse which should be frequently read by every minister and every member of a church: it is replete with sound sense, biblical truth, and experimental religion.
With these views, the following discourses were composed, and are now presented to the candid perusal both of the author's more immediate friends, and the public. As to the acceptance his efforts may meet with, it must be left to them exclusively; for it is utterly useless, and far from dignified, to implore the approbation of those who read. The public is never permanently erroneous in its decisions; and to ask for more than equity, is unseemly for all who voluntarily offer their productions; to expect applause is an evidence of vanity, but to obtain it, is.' certainly cause for gratitude.
The subjects selected for discussion, are not novel; the author is aware he is treading in the steps of others-heu haud equis passibus !-nor will he consider as disparaging, the charge that “ others have
labored, and he has entered into their labors." Yet something new may per
haps be found either in the arrangement or recommendation of what was previously known ; and should not this be the case, the mind may revert from modern publications to elder writings ; and while it feasts on these with renovated appetite, readily admit that though novelty has its charms, “ the old is better.”
With the execution of the work, the author himself is far from satisfied; he makes no pretensions to elegance of composition, or splendor of language; the subject did not require them; the multiplied revisions the manuscript underwent, all tended to render more homely, what was previously plain ; his object was to preach the gospel not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of none effect.
In reference to the sentiments he has advanced, he has no apology to offer; con
vinced of their indubitable truth, and essential importance, he has endeavored to give “ certain sound ;” and viewing them as established by scripture, and confirmed by experience, he has only to say—“ What I “ have written, I have written.” Not so confidently can the writer speak of the motives which have urged the publication, or the feelings with which he anticipates its reception. These have been so truly mixed and human, that he feels conscious that without shedding of blood there is no remission; so that he desires to sprinkle the blood of atonement not only on this book, but on all the vessels of his ministry. *
“ The first creature of God, (says Lord “ Bacon,) in the works of the days, was the
light of sense ; the last was the light of " reason; and his sabbath-work ever since, s is the illumination of his Spirit. First
he breathed light upon the face of matter or chaos ; then he breathed light into the face of man; and still he breatheth or in
spireth light into the face of his chosen.” Among the manifold means of Divine appointment, which preserve and increase religious light and life in our churches, is family worship ; than which, perhaps, few have been more signally honored by Him, who to the dwellings of the just descends delighted, and by which, He remarkably carries on his sabbath-work. The pressures of daily business, leave but little time on the six days of labor, for the full discharge of this duty; by which parents, children, and servants are so essentially benefited.
The sabbath evening is admirably adapted to this employment. The temptations of the times, are to the neglect, or to the superficial attention to domestic devotions; and as it is said that every age has its specific dif