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the freedom, copiousness, and energy, of extemporaneous eloquence.
The Sermon-Notes have been given, chiefly, for the use of some of his nearest relatives and friends; who are, or who hereafter may be, engaged in the work of the ministry. Compositions of this kind, it might be thought, are already numerous enough : and those which are now before the public, (as, for example, Simeon's Horæ Homileticæ, and similar works,) have had the advantage of careful preparation for the press. There may be some use, however, and some pleasure, in seeing the first uncorrected sketches of a thinking mind : they present “a study” to those who have the same professional pursuit. There is nothing in this, it is hoped, unfair to the memory of the deceased; for they have, confessedly, the imperfectness of private papers. The portfolio, indeed, of every diligent and faithful preacher, abounds, probably, with similar rough drafts. Those, who are in the habit of thus preparing their stores for the pulpit, may be gratified with the perusal of these private sketches, drawn up for his own use by a brother-clergyman: others may be stimulated, when they see the unremitting attention thus paid by him to this important department of ministerial labour. These “ Notes” are selected from a considerable number of manuscripts; and will be found to be, some more, some less complete, in their arrangement; while a few of them consist of little more than a single thought.
The Family-EXPOSITIONS are not strictly
the composition of Mr. Neale himself. How much they were his own, however, in respect to both the matter and the style, may be judged from the following remarks of Mrs. Neale concerning them. “I send you a few of my
dear husband's remarks in our family-devotions, which a friend present took down. I doubt not but that something of the interest which all felt, who heard him on such occasions, might arise from some peculiar extrinsic advantages he possessed; such as, a memory, and a quickness of eye, which needed only an occasional glance at the Bible to be able to read it; a peculiarly earnest and impressive manner; a steadfast settling of the countenance; and a look which, though not stately, or at all commanding, was penetrating, and for the most part fixed upon the individuals present, as if anxiously inquiring of every one, whether the mind were allowedly wandering, or striving to gird itself for attention to the truths spoken. This habit was, I think, particularly useful to the young, and to servants. Notwithstanding, however, that none of these things can now add weight or usefulness to the · Re. collections' here given, I transcribe them. The substance of all is exceedingly correct; and many sentences I trace to be the exact expressions, as they fell from his lips.”
The ALLEGORIES immediately show to what school they belong: they are a happy imitation of the " Pilgrim” style; and convey, moreover, much deep experimental instruction, reproof, and consolation.
The Hints on EDUCATION were drawn up by Mr. Neale for the assistance of his wife, at a time when he anticipated some interruption in his domestic duties from the engagements of the Ministry. To this prompt and kind fore-thought his bereaved partner and other surviving friends are indebted, for a series of suggestions, which, if not very original—(for, upon the subject of Education, who will undertake to say “any thing new”?)—yet carry with them much intrinsic weight. Their practical utility is enhanced by the circumstance, that the writer had from his earliest years so sedulously cultivated his own mind, and so closely attached himself to the tuition of others.
The HYMNS IN PROSE were written by him for the instruction and entertainment of his only son, then four years of age.
The Poems are selected, partly from various manuscripts never before printed, and partly from a volume which he printed in his life-time, but which was not published, and is now out of print.
THE SAINT'S WALK WITH GOD.
Genesis v. 24.-And Enoch walked with God, and he was not;
for God took him.
It pleased God to preserve an account of the line of men from Adam to Jesus Christ; and my text is taken from the chapter in which the first part of that line is contained, namely, from Adam to Noah. On this chapter we may make these two observations; first, whatever was the length of the life of any of these patriarchs, still the account of each of them ends with those remarkable words, And he died. All the days of Methuselah were nine hundred sixty and nine years; and he died. * My friends, this must be the end of our earthly history. There will be a time when it shall be asked of you and me,—Where is he?—and the answer shall be, He is dead, -he died last year, When you come to die,-it is a truism, I know, but it is one which we perpetually want more deeply impressed on our hearts, —when you come to die, it will matter nothing how long you have lived, how long the time once appeared before you, or how long it may seem as you look back upon it; it is gone, effectually gone. Then why, let me earnestly and affectionately ask you, why be living now as if you were to live here for ever? The second observation I would make on this remarkable chapter is this ; How thankful ought the Christian to be, that it has pleased God to shorten the term of human life! For the elect's sake, says our Lord, speaking of a time of peculiar trouble, for the elect's sake those days shall be shortened.* And when the believer looks at the temptations of this life, and how powerfully they are seconded by the sad corruptions within ; when he remembers how distant the eternal world seems, though at most but thirty or forty years off; he thinks, How distant, then, must it have appeared when a man might feel as if he had six or seven hundred years before him! How would such a one be likely to set his heart on earthly things altogether, and forget that there was any heaven at all! When he considers how near he may have been heretofore to making shipwreck of faith ; and what awful instances he has seen of departure from God in those who, for a time, seemed to run well; surely, notwithstanding the good hope he is permitted to
* Genesis v. 27.