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differ as much as they do in their written compositions ; yet every man by this method may rise far above that which he could ever have attained to any other way."*
We now leave this subject to the decision of the reader. Enough has been said to prove that the Church of England, in her best days—in those of the Reformation-and downwards to the time of Charles I., adopted extempore preaching ; and that the use of written sermons is coeval with the period marked by the first symptoms of a declension both in zeal and doctrine ; we are therefore justified in expecting that a revival of pure religion will be accompanied with a return to this practice, as most suited to produce a powerful effect, and most in unison with the example of Protestant Europe. To those of the clergy who may feel inclined to make the attempt, we particularly recommend Burnet's remark, who advises them to make smaller excursions, before they indulge in a wider range.
Perhaps in few cases would it be expedient for a young man to commence his ministry with extempore preaching, which requires much previous knowledge of divine truth, inward cxperience of its power, enlarged Vitara and facility to express them. Time and experience is necessary to form and mature a talent of this kind, as well as to provide suitable materials for its profitable exercise. A preacher will soon exhaust his resources, without a constant influx of new supplies ; and repetition, feebleness, and barrenness of thought will take the place of that varied and powerful exhibition of divine truth so essential to the success of the ministry. Notwithstanding our preference for extempore preaching, we are not insensible to the defects to which it is liable. There is a danger of neglecting due preparation, of substituting Auency of language for solidity of thought. If there is a deficiency of taste in the preacher, he may degenerate into a style too colloquial, and his ideas and images may be unsuitable to the dignity of the pulpit.
The old divines are no less worthy of imitation for the diligence they used in preparing their discourses, than in the soundness of the doctrines they taught. hey placed no sacrifice on the altar without invoking fire from heaven to descend and consume it. They thought, they prayed, they were mighty in the Scriptures; and it was a well known saying among them, “Give not unto God that which costs you nothing."
“ He that intends truly to preach the Gospel,” says Bishop Burnet, “and not himself; he that is more concerned to do
* Pastoral Care, p. 232 and following pages.
good to others, than to raise his own fame, or to procure a following after himself; and that makes this the measure of all his meditations and sermons, that he may put things in the best light, and recommend them with the most advantage to his people; that reads the Scriptures much, and meditates often on them; that prays earnestly to God for direction in his labours, and for a blessing upon them; that directs his chief endeavours to the most important, and most indispensable, as well as the most undeniable duties of religion ; and chiefly, to the inward reformation of his hearers' hearts, which will certainly draw all other lesser matters after it; and that does not spend his time, nor his zeal upon lesser or disputable points ; this man, so made and so moulded, cannot miscarry in his work. He will certainly succeed to some degree: the word spoken by him, shall not return again. He shall have his crown, and his reward from his labours. And to
all that can be said, in one word, with St. Paul,' he shall both save himself, and them that hear him.'"*
We now close our remarks on extempore preaching. But before we proceed with the narrative, we shall lay before the reader a few letters written about this time by Mr. Richmond, to his aunt and mother. They are not, indeed, connected with any previous or subsequent remarks of our own; but are here introduced to preserve the chronology of the memoir. They are pleasing proofs of Mr. Richmond's affectionate attention to the claims of his own family, amidst the incessant demands og public duties.
Turvey, January 10, 1808. “My dear Aunt,- Affection for one so long known and loved must indeed be asleep, if I did not hasten to express my tenderest concern on your account. My office and station calls me daily, in one place or another, to pour the balm of consolation into the wounded breast. I cannot, indeed, comfort you in person; but if I may be allowed to speak in my Lord and Sa. viour's name, I may often do so by letter. Indeed, my dearest aunt, I shall be happy, in any endeavour I can exert, to prove to you how affectionately I am interested in what regards your welfare, both spiritual and temporal. I am daily exercised amongst the sick, the weak, the maimed, the suffering, and the departing ; and am constantly reminded of the uncertainty of life, even from one day to another. What a glorious light has the word of God thrown on the otherwise dark and gloomy uncertainty which would have overhung the prospect of eternity!
* See Burnet's Pastoral Care,
How full, how free a provision has our gracious God revealed for the salvation of sinners who lay hold on his promises by faith! May you and I be enabled, under every trial and pang of soul or body, to flee to the strong One for help, remembering that in all our afflictions he was afflicted. May the recollection of every past instance of God's kindyou
to trust in him, and repose on his redeeming grace and love. May your prayer be constantly heard and answered, when at the throne of grace you plead what a Saviour has done and suffered for you, and supplicate for a heart thankfully resigned to God, let what will be his pleasure concerning you. I feel persuaded you will ascribe what I have said to a sincere affection, and a desire to contribute my mite of consolation under the trial which Providence has brought upon you. May you meet it with the true spirit of Christian fortitude. Sanctified afflictions are the Lord's peculiar mercies to those whom he loves. May yours prove one of this kind! Frequent meditation on the great change to which we are all daily liable, to which the youngest are rapidly hastening-is highly profitable to the soul, and begets a watchfulness and preparedness of mind for every event and circumstance. Seasons of sickness and debility are peculiarly calculated to this end. They are often expressly sent, that as in the day of health and prosperity we are 100 prone to forget the Author and Giver of all our blessings, these messengers of mercy may be the means, in his Almighty hands, of collecting our wandering thoughts and affections, and of fixing them abidingly on him. Receive these reflections from one who loves you, who wishes never to forget that he is a minister of Christ, and always your affectionate nephew,
Turvey, January 29, 1808. “ My dearest Mother,— The return of this day* reminds me of life, death, and eternity ; it reminds me of times past, and anticipates times to come; it reminds me of my dear mother also, and of the many affectionate sensations which the successive anniversaries of my birth have from year to year given her, arising from the mingled hope of good and fear of evil. Sometimes you have written to me on this day; but lest a letter should not be penned between us, I take up the quill to write to you. Accept my kind, tender, and dutiful assurances of filial love and veneration, and ten thousand thanks for all your cares
* His birth-day.
and prayers on my account, for six-and-thirty years ; nor ever let it be thought that I am insensible to what I owe you. Happy shall I feel, if enabled and permitted to contribute to the ease and consolation of your declining years, and to mitigate the infirmities of old age, by the duly applied exertions of younger years! It seems but a little while since I was a boy myself, returning home from season to season, to enjoy the blessing and comfort of parental and sisterly society and affection at your home:
I see myself surrounded by my boys and girls at my own home, growing apace, and preparing to occupy the station in the world which we now fill up. It is an old and worn-out remark, how time flies! Yet we cannot help all making it in our turn; we feel its force, and out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh. One cannot help sometimes ejaculating with good old David, “O, spare me a little, that I may recover my strength, before I go hence and be no more seen! What a scene does eternity present !-the years of life past-early connexions dissolved the secrets of all hearts laid open-souls saved or lost -Christ, a frowning judge, or a welcome saviour--all mistakes and errors in religion at an end--every false foundation undermined--a world in flames and consumed, as though it had never been-time itself no more--eternal ages of ages rolling on in ceaseless bliss or woe! Who is sufficient even to speak on these things?
“ Pray for me, that since the Lord has spared me another year, I may not prove such a barren fig-tree as heretofore. 1 could look at all that is past, and view myself as no better than a cumberer of the ground. But the gracious Vine-dresser intercedes, and his prayer is full of love and mercy; may the Owner of the vineyard hear, and answer it. I have been very unwell, but am now much better : the poor fig-tree is not yet cut down. May it bear fruit to the glory of the Father. Accept our love, and give it to those around you ; and believe me,-Your affectionate son,
Turvey, March 25th, 1809. “My dearest Mother,—I do indeed most sincerely rejoice at your recovery from so severe an attack of your complaint, as that which you describe. May a gracious God protect you under the shadow of his wing, and spare your valuable health, for all our sakes ; may you daily enjoy more of a sense of the divine presence, as you advance in your pilgrimage ; may you sometimes be favoured, from the top of the mount of Pisgah, with a cheerful prospect of Canaan; and always be supported by the trust that He who hath begun the good work in you, will perfect it in his own time. Your occasional doubts and fears, arise from too much considering faith and repentance as the grounds, rather than the evidences of salvation. The truth is, that a weak faith makes the soul as secure, though not so happy, as a strong one: and an imperfect repentance, as we deem it, may be sincere, and therefore a work of grace. Our salvation is not, because we do so well, but because · He whom we trust, hath done all things well. The believing sinner is never more happy nor secure, than when, at the same moment, he beholds and feels his own vileness, and also his Saviour's excellence.
I the chief of sinners am,
But Jesus died for me ; is the burden of his song. You look at yourself too much, and at the infinite price paid for you too little. For conviction, it is true, you must look to your own heart; but for comfort, at your own Saviour. Thus the wounded Israelites were to look only at the brazen serpent, for recovery. The graces of the Spirit, such as love, patience, goodness, faith, &c., are good things for others to judge us by; but it is Christianity, as received, believed in, rested upon, loved, and followed, that will speak peace to ourselves. By looking unto Him, we shall grow holy; and the more holy we grow, the more we shall mourn over sin, and be sensible how very short we come of what we yet desire to be. None are so holy as those who mourn that they are not more
While our sanctification is a gradual and still imperfect work, our justification is perfect and complete : the former is · wrought in us, the latter for us. Rely simply as a worthless sioner on the Saviour, and the latter is all your own, with its accompanying blessings of pardon, acceptance, adoption, and the non-imputation of sin to your charge. Hence will flow thankful obedience, devotedness of heart, patience in tribulation, and quiet waiting for the glory of God. Thus, salvation is by faith alone ; and thus, saving faith works by love. Embrace these principles freely, fully, and impartially, and you will enjoy a truly scriptural peace, assurance, and comfort.
“ You would hear from my dear wife something of my intended proceedings, during the ensuing month of May. She has, of course, told you, that I am to preach the annual missionary sermon, in London, on Whit-Tuesday. Mr. Robinson, of Leicester, preached last year. 6 I hope
will succeed in procuring an eligible