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MY BELOVED PARISHIONERS AND CONGREGATION,
I trust-indeed I feel satisfied, that the affectionate intercourse, which for so many years subsisted between us, is still so fresh in your recollection, as well as mine, that it would be superfluous in me to dwell on the assurance, how sincerely I love you, both as the flock entrusted to my pastoral care, whom it was at once my duty and delight to endeavour to lead into the good Shepherd's heavenly fold—and as the friends who have manifested so tender a sympathy in my sufferings, and so generous a solicitude to administer to
comfort. Nor need I labour to convince you, how cordially I would rejoice to be instrumental in advancing your spiritual welfare—how fervently, though no longer permitted to plead with you in the House of God, I continue to plead for you at the Throne of Grace--and how bitter an ingredient it has been, in the cup of trial, of which I have latterly been drinking, that it has deprived me of the privilege and pleasure, which, I trust, I gratefully appreciated and enjoyed, of speaking with you, face to face, of the things that belong to your
peace. Among the consolations which have been mercifully mingled in that
of trial—and, blessed be the God of all comfort ! they have been neither few nor small) —one of the sweetest has been the preparation of this Volume of Sermons for the press, as it kept before
my mind the cheering thought, that I might thus, though parted, be in one sense present with you,—and though silent, still speak to you of those glad and glorious tidings, which I so much delighted, while health permitted, to proclaim amongst you.
How often, when weakness and weariness had almost weighed me down, have I been roused into pleasurable exertion, and revived with refreshing comfort, by the sweet hope which strengthened and encouraged me in
my work, that through the power of the Holy Spirit, these sermons might be blest to you; might warn away from destruction, and win over to Christ, some wanderer from the paths of peace, with whom I had often pleaded in vain; and stir up those amongst you, who already know, love, and confide in the Lord Jesus Christ, as your own Almighty and all-sufficient Saviour, and Friend, to adorn the profession of His gospel by a more Christ-like character, and conversation; and while trusting for pardon and salvation exclusively in His alone meritorious cross and passion, to live in all things, more devotedly to the glory of Him who died for you; and thus be enabled to go on your heavenward way rejoicing—resting in the love of the Father-walking in the footsteps of the Son—and gladdened with the comforts of the Holy Ghost.
Such was the hope that cheered me, while engaged in preparing this volume for publication. I would now entreat of you, my beloved friends and flock, to regard it as a testimony, how fondly and gratefully, though no longer allowed to minister amongst you,
I bear you, and all
your affectionate kindness in my memory,
that Spirit, whose prerogative it is to glorify Christ, render it a channel for conveying to your souls an abundant supply of spiritual peace and joy, from their inexhaustible Fountain above.
I would also entreat all of you, who know the power of prayer, to join with me in fer
vent supplications, that wherever this volume goes, the divine blessing may accompany and rest upon it;
it ; that it may become, as it were, a missionary in each house it visits, to preach the gospel of the grace of God; to show the preciousness of the Saviour to those whom it finds ignorant of His inestimable worth ; and to deepen the gladdening and grateful sense of His unspeakable value, to those who already consider Him—as He is in truth—the pearl of great price.
I need scarcely remind you, , before whom these Sermons were delivered, that, in them you will find nothing new or strange in doctrine brought before your view; for however reasonably it may be expected, that as unfulfilled prophecy advances to its accomplishment, new light will break
those parts of the Word of God, where its predictions are announced with an intentional obscurity, which was designed to be gradually cleared away by their progressive fulfilment—and thus the infidel's scoff be silenced and the