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Entered, according to Act of Congress, in the year 1814, by STANFORD & Swords, in the Clerk's Office of the Southern District of New-York.
SENOX VII.-The Power of Religion to strength:
sar's household.-Philippians, 4: 22.
Sermons preached before the University of Cam- chronicles; and they were read before the king.
Serxox II.-The advaviages resulting from the
me driuk of the water of the well of Bethlehein,
brake through ihe host of the Philistines, and
Spital Serxos.-Preached before the Lord Mayor,
was by the gate, and took it, and brought it to
David: nevertheless he would not drink thereof,
Sermons preached in Great St. Mary's Church, Be it far from me, O Lord, that I should do this:
is not this the blood of the men that went in
Sezxox (1837.)- The Two son-,
After this, Jesus, knowing that all things were now
Sesmos Jl.- Songs in the Night,
ples said unto him, Lord, teach us to pray, as
8.Rxox.-The Anchor of the Soui. Preached ai
his fingers into his ears, and he spit, and touch-
SERMON.-The Strength which Faith gains by Ex-
Be opened.-Mark, 7: 33, 34.
CONGREGATION OF CAMDEN CHAPEL,
In acknowledgment of many kindnesses shown him, through years of health, and monihs of sickness; and in the hope that what is now published may help to strengthen them for duty, and comfort them in trial, this volume is inscribed with every sentiment of christian affection, by their faithful friend and pastor,
The Author has selected the following sermons for publication, from having observed that passages of Scripture which may more easily be overlooked, as presenting nothing very prominent, prove especially interesting to an audience, when shown to be "profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness." He has material in hand for another volume of the like kind, and may hereafter commit it to the press, if he should have reason to think that the present has proved acceptable.
CAMBERWELI, January, 1843.
The author of these discourses is well known in England as an eloquent and earnest preacher of the Gospel. "Envy itself,” says the British Critic, "must acknowledge his great abilities and great eloquence.” After having occupied the highest standing, while an under-graduate of the University of Cambridge, he was chosen 10 a Fellowship in St. Peter's College, and, for some time, was a tutor to that Society. Thence he was called to the pastoral charge of Camden Chapel, (a proprietary chapel,) in the overgrown parish of Camberwell, one of the populous suburbs of London. The first twelve discourses in this volume were preached in that pulpit, and the rest, while he was connected therewith. It has not unfrequently been the privilege of the Editor to worship and listen, in company with the highly interesting and intelligent congregation that crowds the pews and aisles, and every corner of a standing-place in that edifice; fully participating in that entire and delightful captivity of mind in which their beloved pasior is wont to lead the whole mass of his numerous auditory.
Melvill is not yet what is usually called a middle-aged man. His constitution and physical powers are feeble. His lungs and chest needing constant care and protection, often seem determined to submit no longer to the efforts they are required to make in keeping pace with his high-wrought and intense animation. The hearer sometimes listens with pain lest an instrument so frail, and struck by a spirit so nerved with the excitement of the most inspiring themes, should suddenly break some silver cord, and put to silence a harper whose notes of thunder, and strains of warning, invitation, and tenderness, the church is not prepared to lose. Generally, however, one thinks but little of the speaker while hearing Mielvill. The manifest defects of a very peculiar delivery, both as regards iis action and intonation; (if that may be called action which is the mere quivering and jerking of a body ivo intensely excited to be quiet a moment)-the evident feebleness and exhaustion of a frame charged to the brim with an earnestness which seems laboring to find a tongue in every limb, while it keeps in strain and rapid action every muscle and fibre, are forgotten, after a little progress of the discourse, in the rapid and swelling current of thought in which the hearer is carried along, wholly engrossed with the new aspects, the rich and glowing scenery, the bold prominences and beautiful landscapes of truth, remarkable both for variety and unity, with which every turn of the stream delighis him. But then one must make haste, if he would see all. Melvill delivers his discourses as a war-horse rushes to the charge. He literally runs, till for want of breath he can do so no longer. His involuntary pauses are as convenient to his audience as essential to himself. Then it is, that an equally breathless audience, betraying the most convincing signs of having forgotten to breathe, commence their preparation for the next outset with a degree of unanimity and of business-like effort of adjustment, which can hardly fail of disturbing, a little, a stranger's gravity.
There is a peculiarity in the composition of Melvill's congregation which contributes much to give peculiarity to his discourses. His chapel is a centre to which hearers flock, drawn by the reputation of the preacher, not only from all the neighborhood, but from divers paris of the great metropolis, bringing under his reach, not only the highest intellectual character, but all varieties of states of mind; from that of the devout believer, to that of the habitual doubter, or confirmed infidel. In this mixed multitude, young men, of great importance, occupy a large place. Seed sown in that congregation is seen scattered over all London, and carried into all England. Hence there is an evident effort on the part of the preacher to introduce as much variety of topic and of treatment as is consistent with the great duty of always preaching and teaching Jesus Christ; of always holding up the Cross, with all its connected truths surrounding it, as the one great and all-pervading subject of his ministry. To these circumstances he alludes in a passage towards the end of the sermon on the Difficulties of Scripture, a sermon we would particularly recommend to the reader--and a passage, introductory to one of the most eloquent and impressive parts of the whole volume. "We feel (he says) that we have a difficult part to perform in ministering to the congregation which assembles within these walls. Gathered as it is from many parts, and without question including, oftentimes, numbers who make no profession, whatsoever, of religion, we think it bound on us to seek out great variety of subjects, so that, if possible, the case of none of the audience may be quite overlooked in a series of discourses.” We know not the preacher who succeeds better in this respect; who causes to pass before his people a richer, or more complete array of dottrinal and practical truth; exhibits it in a greater variety of lights; surrounds ii with a scenery of more appropriate and striking illustration; meets more of the influential difficulties of young and active minds; grapples with more of the real enmity of scepticism, and for all classes of his congregation more diligently' seeks out acceptable words," or brings more seasonably, out of his treasures, things new and old, and yet without failing to keep within the circle of always preaching Christ-teaching not only the truth, but the truth as it is in Jesus," without obscurity, without compromise, and without fear; pointedly, fully, habitually.
It is on account of this eminent union of variety and faithfulness, this wide compass of excursion without ever losing sight of the cross as the central light and power in which every thing in religion lives, and moves, and has its being; it is because that same variety of minds which throng the seats and standing-places of Camden chapel, and hang with delight upon the lips of the preacher, finding in his teaching what rivets their attention, rebukes their worldliness, shames their doubis, annihilates their difficulties, and enlarges their views of the great and precious things of the Gospel, are found every where in ihis land, especially among our educated young men, that we have supposed ihe publication of these discourses might receive the Divine blessing, and be productive of very important benefits.
It can hardly be necessary to say, that in causing a volume to issue from the press, as this does, one does not make himself responsible for every jot and title of whai it contains. It may be calculated powerfully to arrest attention, disarm prejudice, conciliate respect, stimulate inquiry, impress most vital truth; and in many ways effect a great deal of good, though we be not prepared to concur with its author in some minor thoughts or incidental ideas on which none of the great matters in his volume depend.
There are some aspects in which these discourses may be profitably studied by candidates for orders, and indeed by most preachers, exclusive of the substantial instruction of their contents. We do not refer to their style. This we cannot recommend for imitation. However we may like it in Melvill, because it is emphatically his, the mode of his mind; the gait in which his thoughts most naturally march on their high places; the raiment in which his inner man invests iiself, without effort, and almost of necessity, when he takes the place of ambassador of the King of kings, we might not like it any where else. However this peculiar turn and swell of expression may be adapted to that peculiar breadth, and height, and brilliancy of conception for which this author is often distinguished; with all those other attributes which adapt his discourses to opportunities of usefulness not often improved; and a class of readers not often attracted, by the preacher; we should think it a great evil if our candidates for orders should attempt io appear in such flowing robes. For the same reason that they sit well on him, would they sit awkwardly on them. They are his, and not theirs. His mind was measured for such a dress. Nature made it up and adapted it to his style of thought, insensible to himself. The diligent husbandman may be as useful in his way, as the prince in his. But the husbandman in the equipment of the prince would be sadly out of keeping. Not more than if a mind of the usual iurn and character of thought should emulate the stride and the swing, the train and the plumage of Melvill.
It is in the expository character of this author's discourses, that we would present them for imitation. Of the expositions themselves, we are not speaking; but of the conspicuous fact that whatever Scripture he selects, his sermon is made up of its elements. His text does not merely introduce his subject, but suggests and contains it; and not only contains, but is identical with it. His aim is confined to the single object of setting forth plainly and instructively some one or two great features of scriptural truth, of which the chosen passage is a distinct declaration. No matter what the topic, the hearer is sure of an interesting and prominent setting out of the lext in its connection, and that it will exercise an important bearing upon every branch of the discourse, constantly receiving new lights and applications, and not finally relinquished till the sermon is ended, and the hearer has obtained an inception of that one passage of the Bible upon his mind, never to be forgotten. In other words, Melvill is strictly a preacher upon texts, instead of subjects; upon truths, as expressed and connected in the Bible, instead of topics, as insulated or classified, according to the ways of man's wisdom. This is precisely as it shonld be. The preacher is not called to deliver dissertations upon questions of theology, or orations upon specific themes of duty and spiritual interest, but expositions of divine truth as that is presented in the infinitely diversified combinations, and incidental allocations of the Scriptures. His work is simply ihat of making, through the blessing of God, the Holy Scriptures " profitable for doctrine, reproof, correction, and instruction in righteousness." This he is to seek by endeavoring "rightly to divide the word of truth.” Too much, by far, has the preaching of these days departed from this expository character. The praise of invention is too much coveted. The simplicity of interpretation and application is too much undervalued. We must be content to take the bread as the Lord has created it, and perform