« AnteriorContinuar »
their publication; a promise was given to that effect, and the intention announced to the Public. On a further inspection of his notes, the Author saw so little that was either novel, or on any account worthy to meet the public eye, that he had for two years quite abandoned his intention of printing. Circumstances which need not be mentioned, together with frequent inquiries from his friends after the forthcoming treatise, drew his attention again to the subject a few months since, and revived the original purpose of sending from the press the substance of these plain and practical Discourses. intention is now executed; with what results, the sovereign grace of Jehovah, to which it is humbly commended, must determine.
The Author offers this volume primarily and chiefly to his own friends, to whom it is dedicated. He has, however, by publishing it, placed it within the reach of the Public, though he can truly say, that he does not expect much interest to be produced by his work, in the
minds of many, beyond those who are prepared, by friendship, to value it above its intrinsic merits. One thing is certain, the subject is confessedly important, and it is as plain as it is important. It requires little argument to explain or to defend it; and as for eloquence to recommend and enforce it, the only power that can render it effectual for practical benefit, is the demonstration of the Spirit without this aid, a giant in literature could do nothing, and the feeblest effort, by such assistance, may be successful. Too much has not been said, and cannot be said, about the doctrines of the Gospel; but too little may be said, and too little is said and thought, about its spirit. To contribute something towards supplying this deficiency in the treasures of the temple, the Author offers this small volume; and though it be but as the widow's two mites, yet, as it is all he has to give, as it is given willingly, and with a desire to glorify God, he humbly hopes that however it may be despised by those, who he rejoices to know, are so much richer
than himself in intellectual and moral affluence, it will not be rejected by him, who more regards the motive than the amount of every offering that is carried to his altar.
The Author can easily suppose, that among many other faults which the scrutinizing eye of criticism will discover in his work, and which its stern voice will condemn, one is the tautologies, of which, in some places it, appears to be guilty. In answer to this, he can only remark, that in the discussion of such a subject, where the parts are divided by such almost imperceptible lines, and softened down so much into each other, he found it very difficult to avoid this repetition, which, after all, is perhaps not always a fault-at least not a capital one.
Edgbaston, April 22, 1828.
CHURCH OF CHRIST,
CARR'S LANE, BIRMINGHAM.
My respected and beloved Flock;
To whom can I dedicate this small volume with so much propriety as to you, who are the special objects of my pastoral solicitude; and who, after having heard the contents of these pages delivered from the pulpit, solicited that they might be placed before you, in a more permanent form, by the press?
I avail myself of the opportunity which this inscription affords me, to record, publicly, my deep sense of that truly respectful attention which you have ever given to my ministry, and that unvarying solicitude which you have always manifested for my comfort.
We have now been related to each other, as pastor
and people, for a period of nearly three-and-twenty years —a term of sufficient length to try the basis, and to prove the strength, of our union; and, through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, that union has never been regarded, I believe, by either party, with regret, nor its continuance endangered by a single misconception. When I first took the oversight of your spiritual concerns, it was my felicity, as a very young and inexperienced man, to find myself surrounded by your hoary headed sires, who were men of wisdom and piety in the Church, and who had obtained a good report from them that are without, and of whom you, as their successors, are not unworthy. It has been said, with great truth and propriety, that the character of a young minister is formed, when he has sense and docility enough to be a learner as well as a teacher, by the plastic influence of his senior friends; while he, in his turn, as he advances in life, moulds the habits of his contemporaries and juniors.
Whether you are
able to apply the latter part of the remark to myself, I do not presume to determine; but I most unhesitatingly avow my obligations to those venerable and venerated men who have long since passed away from amongst us, to the spirits of the just made perfect; who, without ever feeling that their age or office gave them liberty to controul or oppress their minister because he was young, exhibited to him an example which he was anxious to imitate, and often suggested