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SCRIPTURAL ILLUSTRATIONS; AND SELECTIONS ON THE OFFICE, DUTIES.
AND RESPONSIBILITIES OF THE CHRISTIAN MINISTRY.
AND PITTSBURG, 56 MARKET STREET.
s 8 V.
ENTERED according to Act of Congress, in the year 1836 by
W. SCDI ARDS, in the Clerk's Office of the District Court of the Eastern District of Pennsylvanian
The editor of this work has been induced to enter upon its publication at the request of several ministers and members of different denominations of Christians, who are desirous of increasing their knowledge of the productions of ministers of Jesus Christ in Great Britain. The original cost of English publications, the additional expenses of importation and duty, together with the difficulty of making a desirable selection, render the purchase of them, in many cases, altogether impracticable. To obviate this difficulty in part, at least with regard to sermons, this series of specimens of British preaching has been commenced. How far it shall prove satisfactory, time must determine.
The editor, in his selections, has not confined himself to any section of the Christian church, but has freely gone among all denominations who maintain the essential principles of the Reformation. This has been done to encourage a spirit of liberality, to induce the reader sto approve and imitate every thing scriptural, holy, and excellent, whereever it may be found; and to show that while good and wise men may and do differ upon points which are minor in religion, they are still all agreed in the great leading truths of Christianity. It cannot be expected that the editor should be willing to be held responsible for every sentiment which the sermons may contain, ranging as he has done in his selections through so many denominations ; at the same time, it has been, and will be his constant desire and care to keep from these pages every thing that he conceives acrimonious in spirit, offensively controversial in character, or fundamentally unsound in doctrine.
With perhaps half a dozen exceptions, all the ministers whose sermons are contained in this volume are still occupying scenes of usefulness in the vineyard of the Lord. The prophets, however, do not live for ever : within the last three or four years Adam Clarke has gone to his rest; Richard Watson has gained the prize; Robert Hall has left his painful toil; William Thorpe is numbered with his fathers; and Joseph Hughes has slept in death. But the cause which they lived to serve and loved to advocate still remains; and hundreds of Elishas are treading in the steps of these their departed Elijahs. May they be baptized with a double portion of their spirit.
Of the ministers whose portraits accompany this volume, it is unnecessary here to say much, as sketches of them, and many others, are given in this, or will be given in succeeding volumes. While Episcopalians feel pleasure in knowing that the amiable, pious, devoted, and laborious Daniel Wilson is a member, a minister, and a bishop of their church, similar feelings of pleasure are doubtless experienced by Presbyterians in their connexion with the talented Chalmers; by the Methodists in regard to the laborious and eloquent Newton; by Baptists towards the (late) profound and pious Hall; and by Congregationalists over the liberal and polished Raffles. Any of them would be an honour to any country, to any age, or to any Christian denomination.
The zeal of our British brethren in the cause of missions, and their mode of bringing its claims prominently and frequently before the people of their charge, is seen in many of the sermons in the present volume; and the hope is indulged that the exhibition may be encouraging to such among ourselves as are arousing themselves to this work, and cheering to those who for years have been actively devoted to it.
The emigrant from Britain may probably find on these pages sermons by men under whose ministrations he sat when in his native land. They will remind him of scenes which neither time nor distance can obliterate from his mind, and will convey to him the pleasing tidings that the doctrines of the New Testament continue to be preached in their freeness and fulness, in that land where so many of his kindred still reside.
Some of the following discourses have been taken down by the “pen of the ready writer” at the time of delivery; others of them have been published by their respective authors; but not knowing in every case which came under the former class, no distinction has been made. From the editor's acquaintance with many of the ministers of the gospel in Great Britain, and the arrangements which he has made for a supply of proper materials for such a work, he hopes to present succeeding volumes, should the sale of the present justify a continuance of the publication, with increased claims to the favourable regard of the Christian community in the United States.
To facilitate the labour of reference, two indexes will be prefixed to each volume, the first giving the name of each minister, in alphabetical order, the subject of his sermon, and a reference to the page on which it begins; the second, an arrangement of the texts, according to the order in which they are recorded in the Bible, with the preacher's name, denomination, and the page. To these will be added a table of contents, which will guide the eye of the reader to the various points treated on by the respective preachers.