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life, in an inferior station, but much respected for her well known piéty and integrity, had såved a little money from her wages, which, as her healtlt was evidently on the decline, and there was reason to think she could not long support the fatigués of her situation, would probably soon be required for her own relief. Thus circumstanced, she heard that her aged parents, by unavoidabte calamity were reduced to extreme indigence, and at the same tinye she had reason to fear they were strangers to the comforts of true religion. She accordingly obtained leave to visit them; and making the best use of the opportunity, both shared her little with them, and used her utmost endeavours to make them acquainted with the consolations and supports of the gospel, which she did apparently with some success. She was afterwards remonstrated with by a religious acquaintance, who observed, that, in all probability, she would herself soon stand in need of all the little she had laid by. But to this she replied, that she could not think it her duty to see her aged parents pining in want, while she had more than was needful for her present use, and that she trusted God would find her some friend if he saw good to disable her for service.
According to her faith, so it proved to her. She continued to assist her parents, till their death; soon after which event, she was so entirely de. prived of health as to be utterly incapable of labour. But when nothing but a workhouse was int prospect for her, God, in a wonderful manner, raised her up friends where she least expected them. For nine years she has now been very confortably supported in a way she could never have conceived, and circumstances have at length been so ordered that her maintenance to the end of life is almost as much ensured as any thing can be in this perishing uncertain world. So remarkably hath God verified to her his gracious words, “ Trust in the Lord and do good, so shalt thou “ dwell in the land, and verily thou shalt be fed."*
Ertracts from two letters to a minister, who asked
the author's opinion on a sermon, on Nahum ii. 1, which he was requested to publish.
N early answer to your question, can only contain an extempore opinion; and I feel myself incompetent to decide on the subject. I own I am not very partial to accommodation, and thought, while you were preaching, that if you had said the șame important things, from a text in which they were evidently contained, they would have been more convincing, impressive, and effectual: bud
Ps. xxxvii. 3.
then I observe, that a great majority is against me in this respect.
The ingenuity, that deduces important instructions from a text, which seems not to contain any thing to that special point, excites the approbation and admiration of many: but some think it unwarranted, and that it gives too much scope for fancy; and tends too much to take men off from the plain meaning of scripture, to hunt after such allusions, till they forget the Go, and do likewise, as has been exceedingly the case in the good Samaritan. Your allusions, however, though I own I could not find the ground of them in the Text, were of a practical nature and tendency; and thus calculated to produce good among those, who have a taste for accommodation.
IF I had not considered you in a very different light, from that in which I do some preachers, in whose sermons imagination and accommodation predominate, I should have evaded the question, or declined giving an answer. But I deem you to be of so right a spirit, and your aim to be so simple, that any thing of this kind, which gives unibrage to some persons, and is not unfrequently ascribed to a wrong cause, must arise from an error of judgment, which may, without much dif
ficulty, be rectfied, if indeed we, wło judge thus, be in the right.
Your sermons always have a good tendency; as such, I must give my approbation, leaving every man to his own method of attaining his object; though I may think that method is not the best of which he is capable. I am fully satisfied, that you are 'capable even of excelling, in that way which seems to me most suited to communicate solid instruction—to produce abiding conviction —and so to silence objection, by "sound speech “ which cannot be condemned, that they who are “ of the contrary part may have nothing to say
against it:" for I have heard you, and others, who are no more favourable to accommodation than I am, have heard you, and have wondered that you did not understand where your forte lay. When
you take a plain text, full of matter, and from the real meaning of the text, raise-doctrines, draw conclusions, explain, illustrate, and apply the subject, there is great weight in your manner of preaching; which the fertility of your invention and liveliness of imagination, kept in due bounds, 'render more interesting to the many, without giving just ground of umbrage to the few. But, it appears to me and to others, that quently choose Texts suited to give scope to the fancy, which is constituted the interpreter instead of the judgment; and that you thus discover
allusions, and deduce doctrines and instructions, true and good in themselves, but by no means contained in the text, nor, indeed, easily made out in the way of accommodation. In this case, your own vigour is principally exerted in the exercise of the imagination; and, while many hearers are surprised, amused, and delighted, their under: standings, consciences, and hearts are not addressed or affected, by any means in so powerful a manner, as by a plainer subject.
What St. Peter says of prophecy, that it is “not * of private interpretation,” is true of every part of scripture: the Holy Spirit had, in every part, one grand meaning, and conveys one leading instruction; though others. may, by fair inference, subordinately be deduced. This is the real spiritual meaning, which we should first of all endeavour to discover, as the foundation of all our reasonings and persuasions. We should open, alledge, argue, enforce, apply, &c. from this mind of the Spirit in scripture; nor is any passage fit for a text, properly speaking, which does not admit..of such an improvement of it, in its real meaning. But that, which you seem to call the spiritual meaming,' is frequently no more, than a new meaning puť upon it by a lively fancy.-Typical subjects, indeed, have a spiritual meaning, and in another sense, under the literal meaning; being intended by the Holy Spirit, to shadow forth spiritual blessings under externał signs; and some