Page images
PDF
EPUB

does not presumptuously lean on his own opinion, but that, added to his examination of the Bible itself, he has properly availed himself of the opinions of other writers, dignified equally by their talents and their station. Were the whole of this work a compilation, the Compiler need not be ashamed of his office, if his selection of passages be judicious, and those so well connected together, as to produce one beneficial whole. It is a source of much more heart-felt comfort to publish that which may be considered as conducing to throw the least gleam of light on any part of the Christian faith, than to aim at dazzling the public by the most glittering and splendid images. Clergymen especially, if they make literary fame their prime object, may justly be said to "preach themselves,”* (i. e. to wish to gratify their own vanity,) and not to preach “ Christ Jesús the Lord.”. How many quotations are here introduced from the most distinguished authors, whose 'entire works the great majority of the middling and higher classes have never read, and, from various causes, are never likely to read! if then, as Cowper observes, in

* 2 Cor. iv. 5.

the first book of his immortal

Task,"

“I admire (None more admires the painter's magic skill) Who shews me that which I shall never see, And throws Italian light on English walls.”

Some thanks may be due to one, who introduces his readers even to a slight acquaintance with such celebrated writers, who have thrown religious light on minds, which were before ignorant and darkened. Those, who have seen the Author's former publication, may recollect how prominently the character and works of the late Dr. Horne, Bishop of Norwich, were brought forward. When they see, in the present work, so many quotations from the same lamented prelate, the Author may possibly be accused of acting contrary to a precept of Horace,* and being led away by too high an admiration of that distinguished writer. My feelings, I acknowledge, are indeed most warmly excited. I well remember his cheerful and pure character; I have been delighted, as well as edified, by his inimitable delivery of his discourses; but to those, who have never had these advantages, I would wish to instil a sense of his awakening style of writing, and that their minds

* “ Nil admirari.” Epist. VI. Book 1.

may, like my own, experience an impression from his apparently more than earthly language, which I consider it as so capable of imparting However my feelings may urge me to express my gratitude to the memory of the Bishop, for having inspired me more than any other writer, or preacher, to a zealous attention to the greatest of all subjects, I am not blind to the merit of innumerable sermon writers, and much less to the powerful discourses of a Horsley, numerous volumes of Bampton, Boyle, and Hulsean, lecture sermons will, in a doctrinal point of view, be ever duly esteemned by

« PreviousContinue »