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Church and populous district of Holy Trinity, I had the satisfaction of acting under your spiritual superintendence in the two-fold capacity of Rector and Archdeacon. To whom, then, could I more fitly commend them and myself than to you, whom for so long a period, I was thus accustomed to regard as my spiritual Superior? That, on conscientious grounds, you should have resigned both the one and the other of those offices of trust and honour ;-that, because of the visitation of severe sickness, you should have voluntarily yielded up a valuable preferment, and have divested yourself of an honorable dignity in the Church, and thus have retired into entire privacy after having so long and actively engaged in the duties of our common profession —that
you should have done this is certainly the least possible reason why I should not desire to offer this tribute of respect and regard to one who, in those very actions, approved himself superior to the considerations of personal advantage, which commonly influence the great majority of mankind. With the most entire esteem, therefore, the most perfect regard, and most affectionate consideration, allow me, my dear Sir, to lay my very humble offering before you, and to wish, as I heartily do, that it were more worthy your favour and acceptance.
If you merely run your eye over the table of contents, you will not fail to perceive that the Sermons, comprised in the present volume, are all occasional; that they have no common subject, nor are united by any thread of argument. They are in truth, literally, what they profess to be-occasional discourses, prepared for, and delivered before a mixed Congregation, the majority of whom consisted of the poorer and less informed classes of Society. This latter circumstance will account for a somewhat homely and familiar character in the style of address, and method of treating the subjects chosen. For the further reason, too, that they profess to be printed
as preached, I have hardly felt myself at liberty to make any greater alterations in the manuscript than such as extend to verbal imperfections, or the mere collocation of the words in
Any composition prepared to meet the eye
in the first instance, must be greatly different from one intended for oral delivery; and, by consequence, the more alterations an address undergoes, after delivery, with a view to publication, the less likely is it to retain that cast of thought, and turn of expression, by which it was originally impressed. Now nothing is more common than to find that those who have heard a discourse
delivered, attach a greater value to it, in a printed form, than others who have never known it other
wise. They recognise an old friend, as it were,
and are pleased at renewing an acquaintance
with passages which, on some account or other,
had arrested their attention when first heard.
If this, then, is a legitimate source of pleasure,
the disappointment at finding such passages al
tered, in the attempt to improve them, must be
commensurate with the hope of gratification with which they were sought out ; and I feel con
fident no apparent advantage to the argument,
no further polish to the expression, nor both
these combined together, will satisfy the en
quirer equally with the language first employed.
But whatever degree of justice there may be in
these remarks, with reference to compositions in
general, they apply to addresses from the pulpit
in a peculiar manner, and tenfold measure.
Whatever passages in a Sermon have attracted the hearer's attention may, without arrogance, be
assumed to have done so from their adaptation to
his spiritual condition. They may be conjectured
to have conveyed a hint, or furnished a subject of profitable meditation, or laid bare a lurking error, or, perhaps, have carried the balm of conso
lation to a troubled spirit. So suggestive are the
topics which ordinarily employ the preacher's
chief attention, that it is hardly possible for him
to embody them in a discourse, without affording
some occasion for effects, such as these, to attend
upon his labours.
Now passages once consecrated to so hallowed an end become, in a man
No one, surely, would desire to
blot out, or alter them, and thereby incur the
risk of disappointing those who might wish to renew the impression formerly made: no one, for the sake of pursuing an improvement in compo
sition, or adding cogency to an argument, would