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النشر الإلكتروني

BX 9079 E73 1794

The following Recommendations of Mr. ERSKINE'S Writings, by Dr. Bradbury and Mr. Hervey, were not infert in the folio edition; the Account of the Author's Life, here given, is quite different, and much fuller than the former one; and the Elegiac Poem, fubjoined thereto, was not printed with the former edition of his Works.

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The Rev. Mr. Adam Gib, late Minifler of the Gospel in Edinburgh, fpeaking of Mr. Ralph Erikine, his words are, "This now glorified Author, having been long a very eminent light in the Church, and one whofe memory, as a Minister of the Gofpel, mutt be preci"ous, from the various Works which he has given "to the public, fo long as the Gofpel continues to be "difpenfed in the English tongue."

Difplay of the Seceffion Teftimony, Vol. II. p. 5, 6.

A

CHARACTER

O F THE

AUTHOR and his WRITINGS.

T is not the intention of the Editor of the prefent

cal works, in ten volumes octavo, to attempt paffing any fulfome encomiums on the worthy Author, whose praife is already in the churches, or to launch out into any prolix commendation of his elaborate and valuable writings, which are fo univerfally known, read, and efteemed; but to refer the reader, for his fatisfaction relative to thefe, to what is advanced in the following fhort Account of his Life and Writings: We shall only here obferve, That as he was eminently pious from his youth, had always a converfation becoming the gofpel, was endued with every fuitable qualification for the miniftry, poffeffed of very popular talents, made the diftinguifhing doctrines of Chriftianity the chief fubjects of his pulpit themes, and fingularly zealous for the purity of gofpel-truth, it is not at all furprifing, that he was greatly beloved, much followed by all true Chriftians, and his writings eagerly read by the religious and devout of every denomination.

The SERMONS and POEMs are already fo well known and defervedly admired, both at home and abroad, that it would be fuperfluous to pafs any encomiums on them. Let it fuffice to fay, in the words of that eminent divine, the late Rev. Dr. BRADBURY, in his preface to a collection of Meff. EBENEZER and RALPH ERSKINE'S Sermons, printed at LONDON, in 1738.

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"The Sermons, faith he, have no need of my re "commendation: the reader will find in them a faith

ful adherence to the defign of the gofpel, a clear "defence of thofe doctrines that are the pillar and "ground of truth, a large compafs of thought, a

ftrong force of argument, and a happy flow of "words, which are both judicious and familiar: and they have been greatly bleffed to the edification of many, efpecially the poor of the flock."

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The fame Dr. BRADBURY, fpeaking concerning the poetical compofitions of our Author, obferves, That "as poetry has often. no more in it than great fwelling words of vanity, diftorted images, and monftrous allufions; fo it is a pleafure to fee the things of another world delivered without any heathenish fi "gures and phrafes, but in fuch an Adorning as becomes the gofpel of JESUS CHRIST: On this ac count, Mr. ERSKINE's Gofpel-Sonnets, are greatly "to be efteemed, for the fweetnefs of the verfe, the difpofition of the fubjects, the elegance of the com pofition, and, above all, for that which animates "the whole, the favour of divine and experimental "knowledge."

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The words of the late juftly celebrated and pious Mr. HERVEY are very fignificant, and truly expreffive of the high efteem he had for Mr. ERSKINE'S Writings.

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Was I to read, (fays that judicious and elegant writer), in order to refine my tafte, or improve my "ftile; I would prefer Bifhop Atterbury's fermons, "Dr. Bate's works, or Mr. Seed's difcourfes: But,

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was I to read with a fingle view to the edification "of my heart, in true faith, folid comfort, and evangelical holinefs; I would have recourfe to Mr. " ERSKINE, and take his volumes for my guide, my companion, and my own familiar friend." *

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* Hervey's Works in fol. p. 346. and Theron and Afp. dial. 16

SOME

ACCOUNT

OF THE REVEREND

Mr. RALPH ERSKINE.

N emitting the Writings of great men to the public, it hath reader may, in a fort compafs of reading, learn fome of the principal lines of their character. Our Author is already fo well known in the churches of Chrift, both at home and abroad, by his excellent and elaborate productions, that faying any thing of him might have been entirely fuperceded: and had it not been, that his writings may fall into the hands of fome at a distance, and in after-ages, who are not, and cannot be fo well acquainted with him as the prefent, it would have been fuperfluous to have faid any thing concerning him.

THE Rev. Mr. RALPH ERSKINE was honourably defcended of very refpectable ancestors; his father the Reverend Mr. HENRY ERSKINE, being one of the thirty-three children of RALPH ERSKINE of Shielfield, a family of confiderable repute and ftanding in the county of Merfe, and originally defcended from the antient houfe of MAR. Our Author, and. his brother, the Rev. Mr. EBENEZER ERSKINE, late Minifter of the Gofpel at Stirling, were two of the children of the faid Rev. Mr. HENRY ERSKINE, who was fometime Minifter of the Gofpel at Cornwal, afterwards at Chirnfide†; a man

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*The greatest part of our Author's Works were at first printed in single fermons and fmall tracts, and well relifhed; numbers of thefe have gone abroad and met with a kind reception: yea, fuch regard hath the public put upon them, that feveral of them have undergone a great many impreffions; and even fome of them tranflated into other languages; and we have even feen a few of them printed in Dutch.-In the year fixty-four and fixty-five they were collected together, and printed, in a molt elegant manner, in two large volumes in folio, in which there was interfperféd a great many manufcript Sermons. This handfome O&avo Edition is printed from the elegant folie one, with confiderable amendments.

+ Cornwal is in the shire of Northumberland; Chirnside lies about five miles from Berwick upon Tweed, in the Scotch fide.

eminent in his day, and juftly diftinguifhed for his piety, and firm attachment to Prefbyterian principles: For his stedfast adherence to which, he was fubjected to many confiderable hardships in the latter part of the last century, during the perfecuting period of Charles II, and James VII *.

The Author of the following Sermons was born at Monilaws, in the county of Northumberland, on Sabbath the 15th of March, 1635, at three o'clock in the afternoon; and baptized at Chirnfide on the 5th of April, faid year, by the Reverend Mr. William Violand. He gave pretty early proofs of a great genius and fine fancy; and feveral inítances of a pious difpofition and a folid way of reflecting on matters. On this account he was, by his parents, early defined for the holy miniftry, who refolved to give him a regular and liberal education, in order to qualify him for that important office,

When he had acquired a competent meafure of Grammar, and other introductory parts of education, he went to the Univerfity of Edinburgh, to complete his ftudies; where he went through the ordinary courfes of philofophy and divinty with fuccefs; and made a confiderable progrefs in all the dif ferent branches of ufeful literature; for, he foon became a fine Grecian, an excellent Logician, and an accomplified Philofo pher. But after having acquired fuch a competent measure of knowledge, in thefe various branches of erudition, he gave himfelf up to the ftudy of theology, his darling and beloved. topic; in which he made great progrefs, as his productions therein do abundantly evidence,

Having experienced the grace of God himself, he thought it his duty to give himfelf up to the great work of the minifty, that he might be a happy inftrument of bringing others to know thefe things which he found and experienced to be of the utmoft importance. He was abundantly fenfible this was a work of great labour and diligence; and therefore gave himself up to a courfe of unwearied ftudy. He was never more delighted than when he could apply himfelf to the increafe of valuable knowledge, without being interrupted: this defire after improvement continued to the laft; and he was never feemingly better, than when he thus enjoyed himself.

The ordinary courfe of philofophical and theological ftudies being gone through, at the College of Edinburgh, with fuccefs; he was, in the providence of God, called forth to appear in a public character; and being well reported of, by all who knew him, for a converfation becoming the gofpel, he was according ly taken upon trials by the Prefbytery of Dunfermline: and having finished the ufual pieces of trial affigned him, to the entire fatisfaction of the Prefbytery, he was by them licenfed

See the Continuation of Calamy's Life of Baxter, p. 681.

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