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The Reverend Dr. Gairden, in our author's funeral sermon, speaks much to the same effect. “ Sure, whoever considers the importance of the matter of that book, the clear representation of the life and spirit of true religion, and its graces, the great excellency and advantages of it, the proposal of the most effectual means for attaining to it by the grace of God, the piety and seasonableness of the devotions, together with the natural and affectionate eloquence of the style, cannot but be sensible of its great usefulness, to inspire us with the spirit of true religion; to enlighten our minds with a right sense and knowledge of it; to warm our hearts with suitable affections and breathings after it, and to direct our lives to the practice of it.”
To the same purpose, let us hear the before mentioned Mr. Cockburn. "The clear style, and easy method of our author, the just and amiable representation he gives of religion, in this little treatise, have made it deservedly valued and esteemed by all judicious persons: and it has become a happy ineans of giving right notions of religion to many, making them in love with it, and putting them upon the practice of what they saw was infinitely desirable in itself, and, with some pains and industry, attainable by them.”
The Reverend Dr. Wishart, Principal of the College of Edinburgh, published, some years ago, a small edition of this incomparable Treatise, with a recommendatory preface, equally pious, candid, and judicious; an extract of which will, therefore, very properly conclude our preface.
“Since I had the happiness to become acquainted with this book, I have heartily blessed God for the benefit I have received to my own soul, by the perusal of it; and have earnestly wished it had a place in every family; was carefully perused by every one who can read; and that the sentiments of pure and undefiled religion it contains, were impressed upon every heart.
“ The things which especially recommend the book to my heart, and which, I think, cannot fail to recommend it to the heart of every serious peruser of it, are: 1. The just notions it contains of real and vital religion, in opposition to the common mistakes concerning it, and the view it gives us of that ingenuous spirit which belongs to true piety; with a just allowance, at the same time, to the proper influence of external motives. 2. The excellency and force of the motiveg by which true religion is here recommended, together with
the energy and warmth with which they are delivered. 3. The excellent directions here given, for attaining true piety and goodness. 4. The prudence and charity the worthy author discovers, in avoiding matters of doubtful disputation, about which the best and wisest men differ, while he is treating of matters of the greatest importance, about which all good and wise men must agree.
And oh! had we more of that true Christian spirit, so beautifully delineated, and so warmly recommended in this book, I cannot but think, that the fierceness of our contentions and animosities about things of lesser moment, must considerably abate. In fine, that vein of good sense and clear thought, and of serious piety, which runs through the whole of this performance, exceedingly commended it to me.
“For these reasons, I earnestly recommend this book to the careful perusal of all with whom my recommendation may be of any weight; particularly to the people of those congregations of which I have had, or now have the oversight.
“I would, in a particular manner, recommend it to the rising generation; in whose education I have the honour to have a considerable charge. And ob! that I could be so happy as to make them sensible, how much it would contribute to the peace and satisfaction of their whole after-life, to have their minds and hearts early possessed of such just notions of true piety and goodness, and such a prevailing liking to it, as this excellent book tends to promote; how much, I say, this would conduce to their true enjoyment in a present life, even though we should set aside the consideration of that eternal state, to which we are all hastening apace, and whether the youngest of us knows not how soon he may take his flight. The chief part, and valuable end, of all true knowledge and learning, is, the rectifying and improvement of the heart. I would, especially, recommend this book to our young students, who have their views toward the sacred function. I cannot but reckon, that the most necessary part of preparation for that important work, is, to have such a just understanding of the great design of religion and Christianity, and such a test of true piety and goodness, as this book tends to inspire us with. . An honest and good heart is the main thing necessary for preaching the word of God, as well as for hearing it, with profit
“ In fine, I hope I may take the liberty to recommend it to my younger brethren in the holy ministry. The careful perusal of this little book may, I hope, contribute to the further improvement of their notions of religion, and to promote in them that rational piety and real goodness, in which they ought to be examples to their flocks. It may also afford them excellent hints to be improved upon, according to the abilities God has given them in their public performan
There are few paragraphs in this excellent book, but what
may be profitably enlarged into a sermon. And oh! my brethren, how may it put us to the blush, and what a holy emulation sbould it raise in us, to know, that the worthy author of this admirable book, composed it before he was twenty-seven years of age! what a spur to our diligence, that he came to the end and reward of his labours before he was eight and twenty!”
occasion of this discourse