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CLAUDE'S ESSAY ON THE COMPOSITION OF A SERMONT
BY THE REV. CHARLES SIMEON, M.A.
SENIOR FELLOW OF KING'S COLLEGE, CAMBRIDGE.
18, ST. PAUL'S CHURCH-YARD.
TO HIS GRACE
LORD ARCHBISHOP OF CANTERBURY,
PRIMATE OF ALL ENGLAND,
My LORD ARCHBISHOP,
In offering this work to your Grace's patronage, I beg permission to state what occasion there is for such a work, and what I have aimed at in the composition of it.
It is to be regretted, that, whilst the education we receive in our Universities is admirably adapted to lay a good foundation for us to build upon, there is no subsequent instruction given us to fit us for the employment of the ministry. Before men are called to the public exercise of
the medical or legal profession, they have an appropriate line of study assigned them : nor does any one expect to succeed in either of those professions, till he has, with much labour and study, qualified himself for the discharge of the duties pertaining to it. But for the service of the Established Church no such preparatory studies are required; nor are any great facilities afforded for the acquisition of that knowledge, which ought to be possessed before we become stated and accredited teachers in the Church of Christ. Even that species of composition which is peculiarly proper for an edifying exposition of God's blessed Word, is never made a subject of specific instruction; or, at least, is never marked out with such clearness as to render the attainment of it easy to persons at their first entrance on their clerical duties. Hence considerable discouragement is felt by the Younger Clergy, and a great temptation is thrown in their way, to avail themselves of the labours of others, instead of striking out at first a path for themselves.
To remedy this defect, as far as was in my power, I have endeavoured to unfold the most important and instructive parts of Holy Writ, both in the Old and New Testament, avoiding carefully all peculiarities of human systems, and all unprofitable controversies; and I have done this in such a way, as to exemplify what appeared to me the most simple and edifying mode of stating divine truth. Throughout the whole I have laboured to maintain that spirit of moderation which so eminently distinguishes the Established Church, giving to every revealed truth, as far as I was able, its proper place, and that precise measure of consideration which it seemed to occupy in the Inspired Volume. At the same time, every thing has been brought forward with an especial view to its practical improvement, so as to lead the minds of my Younger Brethren to that which was preeminently necessary for them in their public ministrations. This has been my object invariably : and in that view I would hope the Discourses here offered to the Public will prove of some little service to the Church of Christ.