Page images

grity, benevolence, desire of glorifying God, and of doing good, and of your talents likewise, if properly exerted, that I have long wished to discuss the subject with you.

You have a popular turn; you will be sure to have hearers; and if I could drop a hint, which should render your ministry more unexceptionable and useful, I should be glad to be a prompter, when unable to be an actor. I have more need for spurs than a curb-bridle, in respect of the imagination; but I will venture to say, I speak the sense, not of two or three fastidious criticks, but of all the best judges in London, that you need a strong curb, when your imagination is concerned in preaching; for I have heard many persons, who are not unfavourable to your ministry, and who greatly love you, lament it; though, like myself, they did not plainly say it to you.

It appears to me, that you are too much dejected about it; and ready to despond, without any occasion. Your heart is upright; your doctrine sound; your aim and dependence simple; there needs no revolution in your preaching in any respect: a few hints, duly and constantly kept in view, would remedy all, that your candid friends object to; and, as to the rest, you cannot expect to please them. I should hint to you, 1st, the propriety of commonly taking plain and full Texts, which evidently contain the substance of what you mean to set before the people. For taking diffi

cult Texts has been so abused, that judicious persons are almost always ready to ascribe it to a bad motive. 2. Of first enquiring after the primary meaning and intention of the Text, by examining the context accurately; and then considering what subordinate uses may be made of the general subject. 3. To aim at keeping judgment and imagination in their proper places;-judgment as expositor,―imagination merely to illustrate and give animation to the decisions of judgment. 4. To be upon your guard, when thoughts, which strike your fancy by novelty, occur to you; they are seldom so solid as brilliant; and sometimes have little but novelty to recommend them, as a sober review of them may often convince us.

[ocr errors]
[merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors]
« EelmineJätka »