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The friends and enemies of Christ contrasted
The duty of casting our care on God
and Christ's to us
The folly of departing from the simplicity of the
The rest that remains for God's people
suffering or duty
The gospel frees men from sin and death
Souls quickened by the gospel
The folly of a fruitless profession
The character and aim of a Christian minister
Our Lord's desire to be glorified in heaven
ry other blessing
The ends and effects of Christ's exhibition to the
The nature and extent of Christiap innocence
Consolation for the desponding
of the covenant
The following work was published separately: the first volume, containing Claude's Essay, with the Sermon on the Gospel Message, and the four Skeletons which are annexed to that Sermon for the purpose of briefly illustrating Claude's Essay, and the first hundred of the Skeletons, was published first; and passed through three editions. The other four volumes followed. In the Prefaces belonging to the different parts of the work, the Author stated all that he judged necessary for explaining his views of composition in general, or of the doctrines which he has delivered in his own compositions in particular. And that his sentiments may no longer be detach. ed, he now presents them to the reader in one view, but under distinct heads.
1. Why the Author published Claude's Essay.
THIS Essay on the composition of a Sermon was originally written by the Rev. John Claude, a minister of the reformed religion in France, who preached upwards of forty years with great acceptance, first at St. Afrique,
The author renews, with unfeigned gratitude, his former acknowledgment of the very kind and liberal assistance, which he received from the University in the first publication of this work: and if any thing could have stimulated him to greater exertion in preparing it for the press, it would have been the desire he felt of rendering it not altogether unworthy of their patronage. He is proveeding in a similar work, which will be posthumous: but whether as an whole he live to finish it or not, every distinct Skeleton will be left, without any further correction, ready for the press. Vol. I
afterwards at Nismes, and lastly at Charenton. It was translated from the French, and published in the year 1778, by the Reverend Robert Robinson, who also was a man of very considerable erudition, and who presided over a dissenting congregation in Cambridge. The Essay itself appears admirably calculated to answer the end proposed: but, it must be confessed, the notes which the translator has added, and which are at least four times as large as the original work, are not altogether so unexceptionable as might be wished. The compiler says in his preface (which will enable us to form a pretty accurate judgment of the whole), “ The following short Essay was published in its present form for the use of those stu. dious ministers in our protestant dissenting churches, who have not enjoyed the advantage of a regular academical education." He afterwards informs us, that he “translated the Essay for his own edification; then added seve. ral quotations, intending them for snall exercises for one of his sons; and that, ten years afterwards, having sprained his ancle, he improved the leisure which this accident occasioned, in preparing this book for publication.” And then be concludes with saying, " This plain tale is the best account I can give of a work, which it might have appeared arrogant in me to publish, and of a collection of notes, which must seem an odd farrago, unless the different views of the compiler at different times be considered.”
It would be invidious and unbecoming to suggest any thing unnecessarily that should depreciate the compiler's merit. But it will be expected that some reason should be assigned for the omission of almost all his notes. We are under the necessity therefore of observing (what any person who reads a single page of them must see) that they were compiled for “ dissenting ministers;" and that, after making all possible allowance for the views of the compiler, they are indeed “ AN ODD FARRAGO.” But a far more serious ground of objection against them is, that they are replete with levity, and teeming with acrimony against the established Church. The preface itself, short as it is, will afford us but too just a specimen, both of the matter contained in them, and of the spirit which they breathe throughout. “I will venture to affirm, says Mr. Robin
son in spite of Lord Clarendon, and Dr. Burn, that we have not a brother so ignorant, and so impudent, as to dare to preach to seven old women in an hogstie, what Doctors and Bishops have preached before Universities and Kings.”
The Leader may judge from hence of some out of many reasons, which induce the Editor, as a minister of the established Church, to publish this Essay without the incumbrances with which the translator had loaded it. There can be little doubt but that the notes have prevented many from perusing it, who might otherwise have been much profited by its contents: and it is hoped, that, now it is sent forth in its native dress, and may be read with out exciting either bigotry or disgust, it will become an object of more general attention.
II. IV hy he annexed the Gospel Message and the four
Skeletons to it.
THE various methods, which Mr. Claude has pro.' posed for the treating of different subjects, are all exemplified in the Skeletons annexed to his Essay. But the particular topies, which he mentions as Sources of invention, may be rendered more profitable by being brought into one view. And the different modes of treating subjects, which he suggests, may be more clearly understood, by being all exemplified on One Text. This idea having occurred to the Author's mind, he has maturely weighed it; and the more it engaged his attention, the more firmly he was persuaded of the utility of carrying it into effect. But he was aware, that, to propose a text in four different points of view, without, introducing any material repetitions, was no easy matter. If indeed he had chosen to take separate parts of the text for the several discourses, he would have found it easy enough to avoid the most distant approach to tautology: but such a mode of discussing subjects he does not altogether approve: the principal points in every text ought, in his judgment, to be the leading features of the discourse formed upon it: and upon that principle he has constructed the Skeletons which are annexed to this Sermon. Another and a far greater difficulty, was to include no less than twenty-seven different topics in one discourse, and yet to preserye (what