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INTRODUCTION.

THE fact that the public are already in possession of many valuable collections of sermons, cannot be deemed a sufficient reason for not increasing the number of such publications. On the contrary, new accessions to the existing stock are constantly needed to supply the places of those that are yearly passing into disuse. There is a freshness in a work directly from the press-especially if it contain a choice variety of matter which gives to it a peculiar charm. Perhaps

"Tis curiosity. - Who hath not felt

Its spirit, and before its altar knelt?"

that will lead many to read with interest a new book, who would never advance beyond the title page of an old one of equal merit.

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That this inert love of novelty may be turned to the best account, no pains should be spared to furnish an ample supply of healthy aliment, that thus the reluctant mind may be allured to the reception of useful instruction. Besides, it is a fact-scarcely less interesting to the patriot than to the Christian that the alarming demand for a large class of publications, pregnant with the most deadly poison, under which the press for years has "groaned, being burdened," is gradually diminishing, while good, truthful, and religious books are finding a correspondingly greater sale. To answer this increasing demand, and as an antidote to the poison, every Christian press in the land should be kept busy, scattering its "healing leaves" with an unsparing hand, until useful and religious books, like Aaron's rod, shall have swallowed up the serpents of the magicians.

*

In offering to the public this collection of sermons, it is proper to state that, with the exception of a single discourse, no portion of the present volume has before been published in this country. It will be found to contain sermons by several ministers whose productions are comparatively little known to the American public. Among these might be mentioned that of Daniel Moore, the worthy successor of Melvill, at Camden Chapel. Mr. Moore is justly celebrated both as a preacher and a writer. In the

The sermon by Dr. Burns was preached and published in another form during his recent visit to this country.

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latter sphere he has been the successful competitor for several prizes. His writings are destined to be more extensively known in this country. The sermon by him in this volume is one of a series which he delivered before the University of Cambridge.

It is believed that the "English Pulpit" is in no respect inferior to any similar work that has appeared from the American press, while it differs from all of them in two particulars it contains but one sermon by the same individual, and is designed to embody specimens of the pulpit efforts of some of the most eminent living divines of England. In making these selections, the editor has not confined himself to any one branch of the Christian church, but has freely ranged through all denominations maintaining the essential principles of Christianity. And he indulges the hope, that from this wide field he has culled such fruit as will prove both pleasant to the eye and good for food fruit tending to increase knowledge and promote piety.

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The editor would not of course be willing to be held responsible for every sentiment maintained in these pages; still, it has been his endeavor not to give greater publicity to fundamental error. By glancing at the table of contents it will be seen that a choice variety of subjects are here discussed, and by referring to the sermons the attentive reader will discover something of that "diversity of gifts" in the Christian ministry, which, from their respective peculiarities of style, compass of thought, habits of illustration, and natural temperament, is calculated to render their ministrations adapted to "the edifying of the whole body of Christ," and for bringing sinners" to a knowledge of the truth." It has been well observed by the Rev. John Newton that, "in the variety of gifts conferred on the faithful ministers of the gospel, the Lord has a gracious regard to the different tastes and dispositions, as well as to the wants of his people; and by their combined effects the complete system of his truth is illustrated, and the good of his church promoted with the highest advantage; while his ministers, like officers assigned to different stations in an army, have not only the good of the whole in view, but each one his particular post to maintain."

It has been often remarked of the ministers of Great Britain, that a very large proportion of their sermons are addressed to the church, and that the great dividing line between saints and sinners is not made sufficiently distinct. In its general application this remark is doubtless just, but

* Since writing the above, the editor has for the first time met with the following statement by the Rev. John Young, of London. After having preached at Albion Chapel nearly twelve years, in commencing a series of sermons to the unconverted, he says: "It is an unusual thing to preach to the unconverted. I have never yet preached an entire sermon to the unconverted. There may be detached passages in many sermons that are applicable to this class; there may be particular warnings, exhortations, and appeals that are addressed to them; but it is unusual to preach wholly and expressly to the unconverted as a class. It is not the present system." He admits, however, that "this is not in harmony with apostolic example," but that "all the sermons-sketches of sermons rather that are presented in the New Testament, were preached to the unconverted."

there are many honorable exceptions to it. As an example, might be mentioned James Parsons, of York, "a burning and a shining light," and one of the brightest ornaments of the English pulpit. A large propor tion of his sermons are addressed to the impenitent; and seldom does he preach a discourse which does not contain pungent and soul-stirring appeals to the consciences of sinners; and, as the result of his faithful labors," much people has been added to the Lord." The "Sermons to the Unconverted, by B. W. Noel," show that he does not forget his obligations to this class of his hearers. To this list might be added the names of Bunting, James, Aitken and others. There is undoubtedly danger, lest, from the delightful and elevating nature of heavenly themes, we should be induced to preach more frequently to saints, than is consistent with a faithful discharge of our duty to those who are far from God. It is important to mature and perfect the work of grace in the hearts of those that have embraced Christ; but the great majority of most congregations are in the broad way to perdition; and the minister who is anxious to give "full proof of his ministry," and whose grand, conspicuous aim is, "to save himself and them that hear him," will be careful to "give to every one his portion in due season."

It was observed by the prince of philosophers," that no man would ever become a good philosopher until he saw all nature in the bosom of the Creator; " with equal truth it may be said, in reference to the work of the ministry, that no man will ever be a good and "faithful minister of Christ," who does not view his responsibility in the light of another world. He must feel that he is an ambassador of God, commissioned by him to "preach the word; to be instant in season and out of season; to reprove, rebuke and exhort with all long-suffering and doctrine." Such a minister will strive to obtain deep and realizing views of the worth of the immortal soul of the imminent danger of its being lost, and of the awful responsibility, should one perish through his neglect. Penetrated with these views, he will feel no inclination to cater to the taste of those "which say to the seers, see not; and to the prophets, speak unto us smooth things; "* but he will adopt as his motto:

"Careless, myself a dying man,

Of dying men's esteem;
Happy, my God, if thou approve,
Though all the world condemn."

But, if the preacher's heart is not deeply imbued with the spirit of his calling, he is very liable to be unduly influenced in the choice of his subjects, and in his style of preaching, by that class of hearers who regard sermons only as a species of entertainment, or intellectual treat. There are many qualified, it may be, to perceive, and ready to admire the

Isaiah xxx. 10.

beauties of fine composition, who are exquisitely alive to the powerful charm of eloquence, that would feel no interest in, nay, be disgusted with, a discourse embodying the most important truths, if presented in a serious and simple style, without the graces of literary elegance and the attractions of oratory. But the preacher of the gospel should never forget that it is quite possible to minister to the gratification of cultivated taste without promoting the growth of piety-that the wondering multitude may be thrilled and electrified by his eloquence, without being alarmed by the warnings, or interested in the doctrines of the gospel. He may be "unto them as a very lovely song of one that hath a pleasant voice, and can play well on an instrument; they may hear his words but do them not.' They are pleased with the preacher, and at ease with themselves. But so far as these are concerned, the important and solemn office of preaching has failed to secure its appropriate effect.

Happy the preacher who, when called to "finish his course, and the ministry which he has received of the Lord Jesus," can address those with whom he has labored, in the language of the apostle, "Now, behold, I know that ye all, among whom I have gone preaching the kingdom of God, shall see my face no more. Wherefore I take you to record this day, that I am pure from the blood of all men. For I have not shunned to declare unto you all the counsel of God."†

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