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A CONSIDERABLE number of the following Sermons were transcribed by the lamented Author from his notes for the pulpit, some years before his death. Though often solicited to publish them, he was prevented, by other avocations, from completing the proposed volume. The remaining Discourses have been selected from his manuscripts, and the whole has been arranged with as much attention to order as the nature of the subjects would admit. In the task of selection the Editor has been guided chiefly by the state of preparation in which the notes were found, though in some measure also by the earnestly expressed desires of those who heard them delivered. In one or two instances, what occupied two Discourses in the delivery has been put into one. The judicious reader
will be prepared to expect, in a series of Discourses on topics nearly allied to each other, and of a strain almost uniformly practical, an occasional coincidence of sentiment and phraseology; and he will understand the feelings which have restrained the Editor from attempting such alterations as might have been expected from the Author.
With regard to the reception of those Sermons which were prepared by the Author's own hand, the Editor has no right to pretend uneasiness. It is, however, with no small degree of anxiety that he presents along with these the other Discourses which fill the volume. Well knowing the extreme care which his late revered father was accustomed to bestow on all his compositions intended for the public eye, he feels as if he had presumed too far on the silence of the grave, by publishing what the Author would never have given to the world, in such an imperfect form, during his lifetime. There is some relief in the reflection, that what it might have been unworthy of the living Author to bequeath as a gift, it may be permitted to his friends to present as a memorial; and to those, at least, who enjoyed his ministrations, the value of these relics of their
departed minister may be enhanced by that very absence of finish which may be found to distinguish them from the other Sermons in the volume.
It was at first intended to prefix to this volume a brief Memoir of the Author ; but it has been found impracticable to do any manner of justice to the materials which have presented themselves, without both delaying the publication of the Sermons beyond the time which the impatience of the public would allow, and occupying an unreasonable share of a volume which must derive its principal interest from being the sole production of the Author whose name it bears. The Editor has therefore been induced, in compliance with the urgent advice of his friends, to postpone his proposed Sketch, with the view of its being filled up at more leisure; and he embraces this opportunity of respectfully soliciting those who
may be in possession of letters of his father's, that he will esteem it a favour if they would communicate to him, directly, or through the medium of his Publishers, either the originals, which shall be carefully restored, or such extracts as may throw light on the life, character, or sentiments of his deceased relative.
To those who have expressed a wish to see a volume of his father's Lectures printed, the Editor begs to intimate that they have been left in such a state as might warrant the publication of a select number, and that if they should still be called for, he shall commence the preparation of them for the press as speedily as his other engagements will allow. In closing his present task, it is his humble trust that these Sermons, with all the disadvantages under which they necessarily labour, may be pronounced, as a whole, not unworthy of their Author ; and that they may be blessed for leading the reader, under the solemn impression of the mournful event to which they owe their present appearance, to “ consider the end of his conversation, Jesus Christ, the same yesterday, and to-day and for ever.”