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from many, who were endeared to him by ties, which a minister of Christ alone can fully appreciate; he was thus providentially called to pass months of suffering and infirmity; during which season, being totally incapacitated for public duty, but not equally unfitted for every kind of employment, it occurred to himself and others, that he might find, in the revision of a few of his manuscripts for the press, an easy and interesting employment; whilst he ventured to hope that the fruit of his labours might not be altogether unacceptable to others, particularly to his former hearers, as a memorial of the office he exercised amongst them, and a sincere but unassuming token of his Christian regard. Such has been the simple origin of the present volume ; and the kind concurrence of his friends in this his humble
design, was strongly testified in the numerous list of subscribers which was prefixed to the first edition, and which justly claims the expression of his most grateful acknowledgements.*
Particular volumes of Sermons, it is well known, like ministers themselves, may occupy their respective spheres without superseding or interfering with each other : and perhaps it has been appointed by infinite wisdom, and intended in mercy to the church, that Christ should be preached, and the doctrines of his grace proclaimed by books, as well as by living teachers of every degree of talent. Scarcely any class of publications is needed in greater variety than sermons adapted for family reading; and however imperfectly these discourses answer to that description, yet in revising them for re-publication, the writer has endeavoured, as far as circumstances would admit, to accommodate them in style to the purpose intended, and he trusts that they may not be deemed wholly undeserving of a place in the domestic library.
* By the omission of this list in the present edition, he has been enabled to introduce two additional Sermons (XIII. and XIV.) within the same, or nearly the same quantity of letter press.
If these pages should in any instance, be employed to bring back a wandering sheep to the Shepherd and Bishop of souls; or if by their means, a single individual be led to greater establishment in holy faith and universal obedience, and to a more settled peace and joy, and more abounding love, through a more simple reliance on the Saviour, and a more habitual dependance on the grace of the blessed
Spirit; then will the design of the publication indeed be answered ; and in this case, may the person thus benefited, though unknown to the writer on earth, rejoice with him in the world of glory; and may both unite in ascribing all the praise to Him who alone is worthy, and “without whom nothing is strong, nothing is holy;" to whose grace and blessing, the present humble testimony to “the truth as it is in Jesus” is entirely commended.