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not poslibly be done, without transcribing the piece, omitting, in the former, those passages that were afterwards more copiously or more correctly expressed in the latter, and inserting here and there a line or two, by way of connection, to prevent those disagreeable chasms which would otherwise have defaced much of its beauty. For the reft, the reader may assure himself, that if (which I cannot doubt) these papers came genuine into my hand, they are now entirely fo, in every sentence, and in every clause ; for, in those very few places, where the sense was to me absolutely unintelligible, and the construction incurably ungrammatical, I chose rather to drop such imperfect fragments, than, by uncertain additions of my own, to run the risk of impuring to the good Archbishop, what I was not sure he ever wrote. Had these fragments contained hints of any thing curious in criticism, history, or controversy of any kind, I would have published them apart, at the end of the volume: But as they were very few, and, like the rest of his writings, entirely of a devotional and practical nature, I thought it would have been a formality nearly bordering upon impertinence, to have collected and inserted them in such a manner.

The delight and edification which I have found in the writings of this wonderful man, (for such I must deliberately call him), would have been a full equivalent for my pains, separate from all prospect of that effect which they might have upon others. For, truly I know not that I have ever spent a quarter of an hour in reviewing any of them, but, even amidst that interruption which a critical examination of the copy would naturally give, I have felt some impressions which I could with always to retain. I can hardly forbear saying, as a considerable philosopher and eminent divine, with whom I have the honour of an intimate correspondence and friendship, said to me in a letter, long ago*, and when my acquaintance with

* April 10. 1740. The Reverend Dr Henry Miles, F.R.S.

our author's works was but beginning, “ There is a “ fpirit in Archbishop Leighton I never met with in

any human writings, nor can I read many lines in “ them without being moved.”

Indeed it would be difficult for me to say where, but in the sacred Oracles, I have ever found such heart-affecting lessons of fimplicity and humility, candour and benevolence, exalted piety, without the leaft tincture of enthusiasm, and an entire mortification to every earthly interest, without any mixture of fplenetic refentment. Nor can I ever sufficiently admire that artless manner in which he lays open, as it were, his whole breast to the reader, and shews, without seeming to be at all conscious of it himself, all the various graces that can adorn and ennoble the Christian, running like so many veins of precious ore in the rich mine where they grew. And hence, if I mistake not, is that wonderful energy of his discourses, obvious as they seem, unadorned as they really are, which I have observed to be owned by persons of eminent piety in the most different ranks, and amidst all the variety of education and capacity that can be imagined. As every eye is struck by consummate beauty, though in the plainest dress, and as the fight of such an object impresses much more than any laboured description of complexion, features or air, or any harangue on the nicest rules of proportion which could come into consideration; so in the works of this great adept in true Christianity, we do not so much hear of goodness, as see it in its most genuine traces ; see him as a living image of his Divine Master, for such indeed his writings shew, I had almost faid demonstrate, him to have been, by such internal characters as surely a bad man could not counterfeit, and no good man can so much as suspect.

Where the matter is so remarkably excellent, a wise and pious reader will not be over folicitous about the style, yet I think he will find it, in these compositions, far above any reasonable contempt or cen

sure..

fure, When I consider what the prevailing taste was a century ago in this respect, I have often wondered at the many true beauties of expression that occur in these pieces, and the general freedom from those false and fanciful ornaments, if they are to be called ornaments, which occur in contemporary authors. On the whole, the style wonderfully suits the sentiments; and, however destitute of the flights of oratory, has such a dignity and force mingled with that fimplicity, which is to be sure its chief characteristic; fo that, on the whole, it has often reminded me of that soft and sweet eloquence of Ulyffes, which Homer * describes as falling like flakes of snow; and if I might be allowed to pursue the fimilitude, I could add, like that, it penetrates deep into the mind too, and tends to enrich and fructify it.

It is chiefly the practical preacher that shines in these lectures, yet it seems to me, that the judicious expositor will also appear, and appear most to the most competent judges. There is a sort of criticism on the Sacred Writings, which none but an eminently good man can attain to; and if I am at all capable of judging concerning it, it remarkably reigns here.

We find, indeed, little of that laborious lifting of words and syllables, in which some have worn out so much time and pains, if not to no purpose at all, (for I will not affert that), at least to purposes very low and inconsiderable, when compared with those which our author pursues and attains. The reader will, I think, find great light poured on many very difficult paffages, especially in the First Epistle of Peter, in a very masterly manner, and often by a few weighty words. But these hints are generally very short ; for the good author appears to have lopped off every thing as superfluous, which did not immediately tend to make his readers better, or rather to have had a heart so entirely possessed with this defire, that nothing else ever offered itself to his view.

Whatever Και επεε νιφαδεσιν οικοτα χειμεριησιν.

I., iii. 222

Whatever of an ornamental kind is to be found in these practical parts of the work, which certainly conftitute more than fix sevenths of the whole, appears to have been quite unlaboured and unfought : But it conduces much to our entertainment, and I hope in its consequence to our improvement, that the author had naturally a very fine imagination; the consequence of which is, that his works abound with a charming variety of beautiful figures, springing up most naturally from his subjects, and so adding some graces of novelty to thoughts in themselves moft obvious and common.

On the whole, I cannot but hope that God will be pleased to bless the publication of these pieces, in these circumstances, as an occasion of reviving a sense of religion, and promoting the interest of true Christianity. It has appeared to me a memorable event, that when the extreme modesty of Archbishop Leighton had been inexorable to all the entreaties of his many friends, to print something during his life, so many of his precious remains should with such solícitude be gleaned up after his death, and some of them more than threescore years after it; and that they should be read with such high esteem and delight, as it is plain many of them have been, by persons of the most different denominations throughout Great Britain. I am very sensible of it as an honour done to me in the course of Divine Providence, that the task I have here executed should so very unexpectedly be devolved upon me. I have no property at all in the work, nor the least fecular interest in its success : What I have done, was entirely the result of love to the author's memory, and of concern for the public good: But I shall be gloriously rewarded, if the lar bour I have bestowed upon it be the occasion of promoting those great ends which animated the discourses and actions of this holy man, who has now dwelt fo long among the blessed inhabitants of that world after which he so ardently aspired while yet among mortals. And let me be permitted to add, that I have some secret hope this publication, in these circumstances, may, among other good effects, promote that spirit of catholicism for which our author was so remarkable, and extend it among various denominations of Christians, in the Northern and Southern parts of our island. If the fincereft language or actions can express the disposition of the heart, it will here be apparent, that a diversity of judgment, with regard to episcopacy, and several forms both of difcipline and worship connected with it, have produced in my mind no alienation, no indifference towards Archbishop LEIGHTON, nor prevented my delighting in his works, and profiting by them. In this respect I trust my brethren in Scotland will, for their own sake, and that of religion in general, shew the like candour. On the other side, as I have observed, with great pleasure and thankfulness, how much many of the established clergy in this part of Britain are advancing in moderation towards their diffenting brethren, I am fully assured they will not like these excellent pieces the worse for having passed through my hand. It is truly my grief, that any thing Thould divide me from the fullest communion with those to whom I am united in bonds of as tender affection as I bear to any of my fellow Chriftians. And it is my daily prayer, that God will, by his gen-, tle, but powerful, influence on our minds, mutually dispose us more and more for such a further union, as may most effectually consolidate the Protestant. cause, establish the throne of our gracious Sovereign, remove the scandals our divisions have occafioned, and strengthen our hands in those efforts, by which we are attempting, and might then I hope more fuccessfully attempt, the service of our common Chriftianity. In the mean time, I desire most sincerely to bless God for any advances that are made towards it; and I cannot forbear to illustrate and confirm my thoughts on this head, by inserting the elegant

mortals.

words

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