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P R E F A СЕ.
THERE have not been wanting men ready to assert, that pure and vital godliness has not ranked among its advocates many who have been distinguished for the strength of their minds and their intellectual superiority. It seems therefore desirable, when a bright instance occurs to the contrary, that his religious sentiments should be handed down to posterity.
This is not, perhaps, a fit occasion for eulogising the talents and capacity of the late Dean of Carlisle. It may be proper, however, to say, that they were such as to entitle him to great deference and authority on all subjects to the consideration of which he brought the stupendous powers of his mind.
He is well known to have been a supporter of that body of the Clergy which is called Evangelical; and it seemed but justice, both to himself and the sacred cause which he espoused, that his name should be enrolled among those who have so ably and so successfully maintained the doctrines which distinguish this part of the community.
The following Sermons may not, perhaps, add to his reputation as a Writer. In many of them there is an obvious carelessness of style, and there may be discovered evident marks of hasty composition. It is hoped, however, that in the more important properties of a Sermon they will not be found defective, in soundness of doctrine, and in an affectionate earnestness and zeal for the edification of his hearers.—It may be proper to state, that, except perhaps the first in the first Volume and the last in the second, none of them were prepared by the Author for publication.
In these Sermons there are no nice disquisitions on controversial points in Divinity. Neither the followers of Arminius nor Calvin will be gratified by finding their peculiar tenets supported and defended by the arguments of the writer. The Discourses will be found chiefly of a practical nature, and addressed to the hearts and consciences of his audience.
In these volumes the Dean of Carlisle does not appear as the profound Logician, or the able Mathematician, but as the conscientious and zealous Preacher of the Gospel of Christ. His grand object was to administer to the spiritual necessities of his hearers; and this seems to have occupied the whole of his mind, to the total exclusion of all other considerations.
He was always more bent on things than words: and hence arise many inaccuracies of style. These might, in many instances, have been corrected; but it was judged
advisable to lay the Sermons before the Public in nearly the same state in which they were written. Many of the texts also will be found inaccurately quoted: these have likewise been left as they came from the Author's pen; for he has always retained the general import of the passage.
Although he seems sedulously to have shunned the introduction of controversial topics into his Sermons, it is nevertheless well known that in the course of his life he devoted much time to the examination of some of the most abstruse and difficult points in Divinity. He has left some manuscripts on these subjects: among them is an essay on the Nature of Human Liberty, which he has prepared for the Press, and which, with some other of his writings, may probably be offered to the Public at a future period.