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to Cruden the concordist? I mention him, as his was long by far the best concordance, and as it has furnished materials to all subsequent ones. Shall I impute Cruden's labours to the love of fame, or to other mean motives ? 'Even if I had no information on the subject, what I have learned from his labours would induce me to ascribe his indefatigable diligence to his love of the holy scriptures, and to the love of souls. I must consider him as a man, in that respect at least, of a very enlarged as well as pious and benevolent mind; who selected the best possible means of being extensively and permanently useful, which providence had placed within his reach ; and who exerted himself most diligently and successfully in accomplishing his object.
Were I disposed, with the papists, to canonize any persons, Alexander Cruden, and the inventor of spectacles, would be selected by me; without the latter, during many past years, I could hardly have studied at all; and without the former I should have studied with far inferior advantage.
ON PREACHING THE GOSPEL.
Several papers have been inserted in your publication, relative to the question often proposed concerning this or the other clergyman,– Does 'he preach the gospel ?' Yet some thoughts have occurred to me on the subject, which I have not seen explicitly stated.
The question is, undoubtedly, very often asked, and answered, in a manner injudicious, uncandid, and unscriptural. Many are included among those said to preach the gospel, who have no just title to the distinction ; as they only preach a partial, disproportioned, and mutilated Christianity; and many are excluded, to whom the distinction properly belongs, though they do not come up, in some points, to the arbitrary standard by which they are to be judged. Yet it appears to me, that what is often urged, and with much confidence, concerning the worship in our establishment, does not at all bear on the question. However crudely or conceitedly the question may be asked, it has no relation to what is read in the desk; but exclusively to what is delivered from the pulpit. No inquiry is made concerning the former: none can be made, in respect of the clergy in the establishment; though it may often very properly be asked, “ how do they read the
service?' The only question is, Do they deliver the same doctrine from the pulpit; or do they lose sight of it, nay, contradict it? I would wish to include as many, as I fairly could, among the preachers of the gospel; but if clergymen leave out, in the pulpit, truths essential to salvation, or introduce pernicious heresies, can they be said to preach “ the word of the truth of the gospel ?” And does not the circumstance, of having read in the desk that word which their sermons ex
pressly oppose, render them doubly dangerous to those who listen to their instructions ?
You have very ably reviewed several sermons, &c. published by Arians, Socinians, and others ; and have excellently exposed the contrariety of their doctrine to our articles and liturgy. Now would you call me uncandid in saying that the authors of these publications did not preach the gospel ? Would you blame me for thus addressing one of their parishioners, “ Cease, my son, to “ hear the instruction which causeth to err from “ the words of knowledge.” Would you object to my applying the words of our Lord to this case ;
“ Take heed what you hear ?" While I have very often been disgusted by the manner in which the question referred to has been asked and answered, I would by no means shrink from the question itself. Man is a sinner, and in perishing need of salvation.' He who, in preaching, scripturally and perspicuously and frequently answers the infinitely important question, “ What must I do to be saved ?” preaches the gospel. He who does not thus answer the question, does not preach the gospel. Surely this is a test, to which few of your readers would decidedly object. While numbers are very culpable, in so preferring sermons as to neglect the worship of the church ; is there no danger of culpably preferring the worship, however performed, to the preaching of God's holy word?Preaching the gospel is, most evidently and expressly, the appointed ordinance of God for the conversion of sinners and the edification of be
lievers ; even more decidedly than public worship. And why should one of the ordinances of God be depreciated, in order to exalt another? “ Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the “ word of God.” Our Lord was a preacher of the gospel, and sent his apostles and evangelists to preach the gospel ; and not merely, nor expressly, to officiate in public worship. “God is a
spirit, and they that worship him must worship “him in spirit and truth.” “He seeketh such “ to worship him.” But are spiritual worshippers generally found where the gospel of Christ is not preached: Does not the worship, with few exceptions, degenerate into formality and lip-labour? By long observation, I have been convinced, beyond a doubt, that it generally does. As, alas ! it is very common for men to be zealous about the preaching of certain doctrines, who never enter into the practical tendency of those doctrines; never become spiritual worshippers ; 'nay, often, hardly worshippers at all : so it is possible, nay, common, for men to idolize forms of worship, which are in themselves scriptural, spiritual, and evangelical, and peculiarly excellent, when they neglect and oppose the very doctrines on which they are grounded; or remain completely ignorant of the import of the very words which they are in the habit of using in the sacred worship of God. Every man who has long officiated as a clergyman, and has taken frequent occasions of conversing with his people, and asking them questions on the subject, must know this.
May we not then conclude, in respect of wor
ship and preaching. “ These things ought ye
to have done, and not to leave the other “ undone?"
Your constant reader,
In the hymn of praise and thanksgiving, which is appointed to be used by our church after the administration of the Lord's supper, the following words occur : “ Thou only art holy; Thou only ‘art the Lord; Thou only, O Christ, with the Holy Ghost, art most high, in the glory of God the Father."
In order to perceive the peculiar beauty and energy of this address to the Saviour, we should suppose ourselves placed in the precise situation of the reformers, who were just emerging from that idolatrous worship, which ascribes divine honours to departed saints, as intercessors, or mediators, on the ground of their merits.“ Though there be that are called gods, whether “ in heaven or earth; (as there be gods many, “and lords many;) but to us, there is but one
God, the Father, of whom are all things, and “ we in him; and one Lord Jesus, by whom are