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From the Rev. James Milnor, D. D.
Beekman-st. New-York, Nov. 8, 1830. Dear Sir,
In answer to your enquiry whether I had brought with me from England any recently published religious work, the republicution of which I would recommend, I beg leave to hand you the accompanying volume on “The Christian Ministry,” by the Rev. Charles Bridges, and request you to consider my judgment as in favour of its early appearance from the American Press.
Mr. Bridges is a distinguished Clergyman of the Church of England—a man of sterling piety, of the most decidedly evangelical sentiments, and of a catholic spirit towards christians of other denominations. The work is, in my opinion, calculated for general usefulness, but will be found eminently adapted to the use of students preparing for the work of the ministry, and of those already engaged in its sacred duties, who, called to their respon. sible office by the Holy Spirit, desire to “shew themselves approved unto God as workmen that need not to be ashamed.”
INQUIRY INTO THE CAUSES OF ITS INEFFICIENCY.
THE REV. CHARLES BRIDGES, B. A.
VICAR OF OLD NEWTON, SUFFOLK, AND AUTHOR OF
EXPOSITION OF PSALM cxix.'
IN TWO VOLUMES.
FIRST AMERICAN FROM THE SECOND LONDON EDITION
CORRECTED AND ENLARGED.
The work now presented to the Public originated in a letter to a beloved friend upon the interesting subject of Ministerial inefficiency—which, at his desire, and by the disinterested kindness of the Editor of the Christian Observer, was subsequently inserted with a few enlargements in that valuable Miscellany;* from whence an impression was taken off for private circulation. Several applications having been made for its separate publication, the Writer was induced to reconsider the subject in a more extended range, and to avail himself of the suggestions of friends, until the small pamphlet has unconsciously swelled into its present extended dimensions.
As to the Work itself—the Writer desires to be with his brethren “in weakness, and in fear, and much trembling.”+ He is aware that his proper situation, both in authority and experience, is at the feet of many, who are thus constrained to listen to him; and it would be to him a subject of the most painful regret, were he supposed to advance any pretensions to a higher standard of zeal, earnestness, or Ministerial attainment. He has not described what he is, but what he ought, and what he trusts, he desires, to be--and if, after the model of the Country Parson-he has “set the mark as high
* Christian Observer, March, April, 1828.
† 1 Cor. iii. 3.
as he could,” it is because “he shoots higher that threatens the moon, than he that aims at a tree.”* He has endeavoured, however, to write in the first instance for himself—and to point every arrow of conviction at his own heart-" Thou that teachest another, teachest thou not thyself ?”
The Writer will be found to have dealt rather largely in illustration not only, as being more suited to his character than didactic instruction—but as exhibiting that sympathy of care and anxiety, which gives to us a peculiar place in each other's remembrance, an interest in each other's prayers, a witness in each other's hearts.--" The same afflictions are accomplished in our brethren that are in the world.” I
The materials for this work have been brought from different departments of the territory of the Church. Though the Writer has had a special regard to the Ministry of the Establishment, (to which he is bound by the strongest and most endearing ties, and which occupies in his view the most commanding station in the Church of Christ,) yet he would be sorry to refuse a cordial admission, and to neglect a diligent improvement, of the acknowledged excellencies of the honoured men of God in different communions. S If he should be thought to have been too large in his references, he can only apologize by his anxiety to shelter his own statements (which in themselves could
* G. Herbert's Preface to “The Country Parson.'
f 1 Pet. v. 9. $ The Christian spirit in one of the dignified advocates of our Establishment is truly admirable, which admitted the Life of Philip Henry (often referred to in these pages) into his collection of Ecclesiastical Biography--with the admission that any one Nonconformist of superior piety would also have found a place in his work. Wordsworth’s Ecclesiastical Biography-Preface, p. xviii.