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called upon to express unto your great kindness-or, rather, to God by your hands. When the Lord, to serve his own ends, advanced me from the knowledge of my own flock and the private walks of pastoral duty, to become a preacher of righteousness to this great City, and I may say Kingdom, to the Princes and the Nobles and the Counsellors of this great Empire, whom he brought to hear me, I became also an object of attack to the malice and artifice of Satan ;being tempted, on the one hand, to murmur because of the distance at which I was held from the affections of my Evangelical brethren, whom I had never persecuted, like Saul of Tarsus, but too much loved, even to idolatry; and, on the other hand, being tempted to go forth, in the earnest simplicity of my heart, into those high and noble circles of society which were then open to me, and which must either have engulfed me by their enormous attractions, or else repelled my simple affections shattered and befooled, to become the mockery and contempt of every envious and disappointed railer :-at such a perilous moment the Lord in you found for me a Mentor, both to soothe my heart, vered with cold and uncharitable suspicions ; and to preserve my feet from the snares which were around my path; until, by the blessing of God upon you, and such as you, to whom I was a stranger, I have been brought to the conception and clear conviction of the great lameness and blindness of those who call themselves religious, whom heretofore I idolized, but whom now I take upon me when need is both to reprove and to instruct; and to the discovery of that truth, of which a son of the Calvinistic Church of Scotland should never have been ignorant, viz. the total perdition of the world and its predestinate destruction ; and of that error, under which almost the whole of the church is lying, that the present world is to be converted unto the Lord, and so slide by a natural inclination into the churchthe present reign of Satan hasten of its own accord into the millennial reign of Christ. Oh what a deliverance this was! To thee, O Lord, to the teaching of thy Holy Spirit, it is due. How great hath been thy mercy to the most unworthy of thy prodigal sons! To thy grace, to thy free and sovereign grace, be all the glory ascribed.

While I render unto you, my two dear and honoured Friends, this tribute of my gratitude, you will not take it amiss that I should now make you the representatives of a class; and in your persons return thanks to many most upright men, and many most noble women, of the English Nation and of the English Church, to whose respectful and kind treatment I am very very much beholden. Indeed, when I look back upon the five years which I have spent in the bosom of this sister land and sister church, my heart overflows with gratitude to Almighty God, and my eyes with tears, that it should have pleased him to cast my lot in such a land of light and liberty, of equity and justice; whose departed worthies of a long while, even from my boyhood, I held in honour ; whose living sages and churchmen I can nou number amongst my friends, and thus acknowledge as my benefactors. The Lord's choicest blessings be showered down upon this, the land of our sojourning! Ever may her children fear His name and hallow His ordinances! Ever may her Church be the bulwark of the Reformation in Europe, and a light in the midst of the world! And this I pray, who am a Presbyter of the Kirk of Scotland, and a lover of her better and purer discipline. .

It is enough: I feel my spirit comforted by this expression of its true love unto all the brethren; of its obligations unto many, yea, unto all of them; and I know that it will not dislike the spirit of those to whom I more particularly address myself: upon the head of whom, and upon your children, and upon all your house, I pray that the blessing and consolation of the Gospel of Christ may ever abide. Farewell. I am your affectionate and obliged friend,

EDWARD IRVING.

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PREFACE.

In these times, when the good old custom of lecturing hath almost died out of the church, though the value set upon it in former times be shewn by the endowments and provisions every where subsisting for something under that name, it may be necessary to say something concerning this mode of setting forth truth from the pulpit; particularly as it is logically distinct from the sermon, and equally, if not more, important to the edification of the church of Christ. It was early introduced into the Scottish Church, instead of the simple reading of the Scriptures which is practised in the Church of England and the Lutheran churches, and likewise to a certain extent in the Apostasy. And if we may judge from the Expositions of Luther and Calvin, and from the practice recorded of Bishop Jewel and others, it seems to have been a very common custom in all the Reformed churches, to superinduce some exposition upon the simple reading of the word: whereof I have found the desire still subsisting amongst ministers, in proportion to the fulness of their knowledge, the fervour of their zeal, and their emancipation from the trammels of form. But in the Church of Scotland it wrought itself into a regular portion of the exercises of every Sabbath, to which the freshness and vigour of the morning diet were commonly devoted.

Now this was the order which it was wont to observe, and doth yet observe, among the ancients and fathers of our church :—A book of Scripture was chosen, through

which the preacher addressed himself to lecture in regular order: and having taken a portion of it, less or more, with some completeness in itself, he proceeded, after a few words of preface upon the connection of the context, to open it verse by verse, clause by clause, and, when need was, word by word; meeting every difficulty, and rendering the best account of it he was able, illustrating the matter by the customs of the time and place; but, above all, searching into the substance of the catholic doctrine contained in it, and explaining Scripture by Scripture ; until he had fairly gone over and fully cleared the verses to which he had limited himself. This constituted the first part of the lecture, and formed the groundwork of that which followed : and I would observe upon it, that the advantages to the minister and the people which it yields are great above every other method of discourse. First, In forcing the mind of the minister out of its own peculiar form, or the form of the school in which he has been educated, into the form which the Holy Ghost hath deemed best for the communication of Divine truth; and obliging him to curtail his excursions, and limit his digressions, and confine the very method of his thoughts to the word of God. Secondly, In affording him an opportunity of comparing Scripture with Scripture, and doing the office of a good textuary; while it permits him to bring forward so much of the learned scholar and Biblical critic as is 'necessary to elucidate the passage and disentangle its true meaning. Thirdly, In bringing his theological tenets, and those of his people, into a continual contact with and attestation by the mind of the Spirit in the holy Scriptures: which I consider a most essential, and I had almost said an absolutely necessary, pre-requisite to the composing of sound and pregnant sermons.

This first part of the lecture being concluded, in which

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the greater part of an hour would be occupied, the attention both of the preacher and his hearers was relieved by the singing of a few verses of a Psalm, calculated to awaken the soul afresh and rouse the spirit to another effort; which straightway proceeded thus: -The minister, having read the passage over a second time, proceeded now with freedom, according as the Spirit gave him utterance (whereas formerly he had proceeded with caution, under the authority and direction of the word), to draw forth the points of doctrine contained in the verses, and to apply them practically to the church in general, with careful and diligent heed to the present times, and also to the experience of every particular soul, converted and unconverted, elect and reprobate, saint and sinner: wherein he would state cases of conscience and resolve them, start objections and refute them; open not only the truth, but the error which lay on either hand of it; and, in general, do the office of an Evangelist in a most workmanlike manner. And so the word of God was opened, not in the way commentary, nor in the way of an exposition, nor in the way of a learned exercise, nor in the way of controversy and wrestling for the truth; but in the way of a lecture, which hath part with all of them, while it is better than any one of them taken singly, and was made by God mainly conducive to the formation of that doctrinal spirit enlarged mind, and strong intellect, which hath long marked the Scottish nation.

As a Minister of the word of God, I can bear testimony to the great advantage of diligently following this method of handling Divine truth; whereby, more than by any other course, the natural habit of the mind, which is diverse in every man, and the shackles of the schools, yea, and the method of the intellect itself, and the tastes of the people, and every thing else whereby good order is provided for, are all forced to bow down to the obedience of faith ; to

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