« PreviousContinue »
The attempt to elucidate the Acts of the Apostles, on a general plan, was made at a period which threatened all revealed religion, if not with extinction, with an'opposition tending to subvert the best principles of man. The observation is necessary to explain several expressions, and allusions, in the course of the narrative; and can never be without interest in the history of this country. The effect was dreadfully conspicuous in the French revolution. Its consequences invaded this island; and our pure profession of faith was bitterly assailed. The present age can hardly estimate the violence of the assault. Though we are not now what we ought to be, either in faith or obedience, the revulsion of the wave has returned
upon us; and if we are true to ourselves,
and faithful to the Gospel, the example, and the feeling, will not have been given in vain.
The writer has also occasionally inserted allusions to circumstances of local interest; such, for instance, as a vicinity to the sea-coast permitted [Lect. 27]: these he trusts will be
pardoned, as exciting similar feelings, under similar situations.
MY FRIENDS, AND LATE PARISHIONERS,
STOCKTON UPON TEES.
The following course of Lectures, which constituted my last ministerial labours, in a parish with which I had been long, and happily connected, I present—respectfully to the public—affectionately to you. When our venerable and much respected Diocesan called me to another charge, I was desirous of leaving among you this legacy, as a memorial of my unfeigned attachment as a pastor and a friend : and at the same time I wish to offer this testimony of my grateful remembrance of the unusual and handsome man
ner by which you expressed your approbation of my unworthy services. In addressing you at present, I feel that confidence which springs from sentiments of mutual benevolence; and an assurance, that what is well intended, will be favourably received.
Looking upon the awful aspect of the times, I conceived that our common Christianity required every support that piety and holiness could give it; and as our Church had appointed a solemn season of recollection (a season I would gladly see restored to its primitive purposes) in imitation of the excellent Bishop of London', I commenced a series of Lent Lectures; and, in the subsequent course, adopted the plan recommended by him; a plan, which every one would have rejoiced to have seen executed by so pious, judicious, and assiduous a successor of the Apostles. Accept the
one, who follows, but with unequal pace; of one, however, whose earnest wish it is to call back better times, and