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THE FIRST EDITION.
THE professed general design of this publication is, To afford to Students and Young Ministers a portable, yet comprehensive Enchei ridion; in which they will find the most important and interesting Rules and Directions that relate to Preaching, considered both as an art and a duty, reduced into perspicuous Method, with all the brevity which is consistent with the nature of the subject.
The First Discourse, On the Gift of Preaching, was originally published, about the middle
of the last century, by Bishop Wilkins, who was eminent as a man of general science, and still more so as a devout Christian and orthodox Divine. His predilection for analyzing all subjects in a scholastic manner, which was the too common fault of his contemporaries, often operated unfavourably against the elegance and forcible effect of his writings. In the present Abridgment, it is proposed to preserve all the advantage of method, while the forbidding stiffness of it is avoided. The principal things left out are a very complex Analysis of a Body of Divinity, and a large List of Books, the greater part of which are obsolete. The former is, to almost every reader of the present 'day, utterly useless, tending only to perplex the thoughts without adequate profit; and the latter is superseded by the Appendix to this volume. *
* Wilkins's Ecclesiastes has been translated into the German language, by Mr. Henry Ittershagen, who has added Notes of his own, and augmented the Catalogue of Authors, especially Expositors of the Scriptures.Vide Wolfii Biblioth. Heb. tom. p. 280
The Second Discourse, Of Preaching Christ; and the Third, Of Particular and Experimental Preaching, were composed by Mr. John Jennings, who kept an academy at Kibworth, in Leicestershire, and who was the. tutor of the celebrated Dr. Doddridge. They were first published in 1723, with a recommendatory Preface, by Dr. Watts; and were soon after translated and published in the German language, by order of Dr. Franck, Professor of Divinity in the University of Halle, in Saxony." In Dr. Watts's Preface are manifested the same simplicity and good sense, piety and zeal, that so eminently distinguish his other productions. The pious reader will be gratified with it.
"When I see a book well written for the instruction of mankind, I always hope it will spread its good influence as far and wide as it finds readers; but when I meet with a valuable treatise, whose design is to improve the sacred skill of preaching, I am ready to persuade myself, Surely, this will become a more extensive benefit; and the good influences of it. will reach
as many whole assemblies of men as there are ministers who shall happen to read it;' for this reason, I cannot but take a special satisfaction in recommending these two Discourses to the world; which, in my opinion, are founded upon the general principles of Christianity, and therefore invite the perusal of all, being written without the narrow spirit of a party. They seem to be calculated for the common good; nor have I observed any thing in them that can justly give disgust, or awaken any reasonable resent
"It must be confessed, without controversy, that there are some things, wherein several preachers of the present time have the advantage of our learned and pious fathers; but there are other excellencies in the sermons of the puritanica! age, which I should rejoice to find more studiously revived and cultivated in our day. Among these, I know none of more eminent necessity, glory, and usefulness, than those two which are the subjects of this little book: I mean the evangelical turn of thought that should run through our ministry, and the