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come from time to time and have themselves adjusted and regulated according to the only infallible standard of method as well as of matter. This is the only discipline, moreover, for making sound divines, good theologians, and full-minded preachers; and which will force fair and honest men, that are not the mere expounders of a system, upon

the knowledge and the study of the prophetic method of the Scriptures; through ignorance of which I foresee that the church will suffer shipwreck. Leanness and barrenness of preaching; restriction of the Gospel to one or two doctrines, and those poorly demonstrated and ineffectually applied ; mannerism and methodism, have been the consequence of departing from this truly Protestant custom of drawing the water fresh from the wells of salvation, and serving it out to the people without any interposition of our own cisterns, and with as little colouring as possible of our own minds. And as a Pastor, I can bear testimony that it hath availed to carry a flock almost chance-gathered, out of those most superficial views of religion which are held at this day to be sufficient, into the greatest depths of doctrine into which it hath pleased God to conduct my own mind, both with respect to the old things, which the Reformation made good against the Papacy, and with respect to the new things, which the church is now called upon to make good against the errors which prevail with respect to the kingdom and personal advent of the Lord Jesus Christ. Whereas, any other method, which rested less upon the Word and more upon the Preacher, would infallibly have been attended with the very opposite effect, of displeasing and disgusting many, and perhaps of dissatisfying all. I can therefore with the more confidence recommend the revival of this ancient method of discourse to others, especially to such of the Ministers of the Church of Scotland as have suffered the advantages of it to slip out of their minds.

The first of the following discourses, especially the latter half of it, which in truth is the basis of the whole, forming one of a course of lectures on the Gospel by Luke, is constructed after the method above described; and the following ones are properly the application of the allegory to the subject for the exposition of which it was spoken. Now, this I have found in the study of our Lord's parables: that they embody the true conditions, and as it were the exact measurements, of revealed truth ; being alike applicable to the kingdom in the heart of the believer, and to the kingdom of patience and grace which is now present in the world, and which, with my fathers of the Church of Scotland, I hold to be a kingdom within itself, uncontroulable by, though in present subordination 'to, the kingdom of the world ; and applicable also to the kingdom of glory which is about to be revealed on the earth. They are more than prophetical, being also applicable to the present and the past; they are more than personal, being applicable to the catholic conditions of the church; and, withal, they are doctrinal and moral. Which, the more I have studied them, the more literally I have been inclined to interpret, and the less inclined to remit any part, under the name of the circumstances, and, as it were, the drapery of the allegory. And even the natural or visible thing itself, from which the allegory is taken, I have been led to consider as so and so ordered to be, and ordained of God for the very purpose of shadowing forth in the eye, and testifying in the ear of man, the eternal truth of God, to which the Lord and revealer of truth doth in his parables apply it. Working according to this idea, I have sought to find out what is the purpose of the Lord in this Parable of the Sower; and perceiving clearly that it is to declare the ordained will of God with respect to the preaching of the word, to lay down the law of that ordinance beyond which it cannot pass, I set myself next to study the emblem of which he hath made use ; believing of a surety that the one would throw a steady and constant light upon the other; that, if I could find out the substantial and constant conditions of seed-bearing and seed-failing, I should have a great insight into the substantial and constant conditions of the prosperity or failure of the word of God. This discourse was the consequence of such an endeavour ; wherein that capital error, that the preaching of the word is intended to convert all, is exposed ; and the character of the reprobate whom it cannot convert, and of the elect whom it doth convert, is laid out, according to the word of the Lord ; in order that 'preachers may not labour under a false idea of the dint of their weapons, and that bearers máy give heed how they hear. And if there be any fruit of truth in these four Lectures, it is wholly to be ascribed to the care with which, in the Introductory Lecture, I gave myself to understand the subject of emblematical teaching in general, and to study every word of this parable in particular. Of all which my feeling and progress in studying the parables of our Lord I have found no similitude worthy to convey the impression, save that of sailing through between the Pillars of Hercules into the Mediterranean Sea, where you have to pass between armed rocks, in a strait, and under a current-all requiring careful and skilful seamanship-but, being passed, opening into such a large, expansive, and serene ocean of truth, so engirdled round with rich and fertile lands, so inlaid with beautiful and verdant islands, and full of rich colonies and populous cities, that unspeakable is the delight and the reward it yieldeth to the voyager.

I trust that I have written nothing in all this discourse which does in the least derogate from the honour and glory of God in Jesus Christ; but if I should (as who is he that erreth not with his lips ? ), I devoutly pray God to forgive me, for I have done it in ignorance: and if I have spoken so as to cast a stumbling-block or an offence in the way of the least of God's little ones, I devoutly pray to be forgiven of Christ, the Head of the church: but if I have spoken to the justification of God's mysterious ways, and to the honour of his ordinance of preaching, and to the refreshing of any soul, then am I sure I shall not lose my reward—the only reward which I seek—of being found faithful to my trust as a watchman upon the walls of Zion. And to the Father and the Son and the Holy Ghost be all the honour and the glory. Amen.

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