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It is a trite remark, that there is no kind of composition, of which there is such an almost infinite variety, from the highest pitch of excellence, down to the lowest grade of insipidity, as in that of Sermons. From the period of the Reformation—that memorable event which broke the fetters of the human mind, and brought its energies into active operation—one of the most popular methods of diffusing religious instruction has been by printed Sermons: and each succeeding age has produced its scores and its hundreds of volumes. This is not mentioned as a subject of regret; on the contrary, when we take into account the number of light, frivolous, dissipating, and even profane productions which are continually issuing from the Press, it must rather strike the reflecting mind as a matter of rejoicing, that a species of publication which calls the attention of men to a consideration of their accountableness to their Creator and Judge, their frailty and mortality, the insufficiency of all earthly enjoyments to afford them solid peace and lasting happiness, keeps pace, at least, with works of inferior moment,
To tender a formal apology, therefore, for the appearance of the present Volume, would be a work of supererogation. Its claims to general patronage are so obvious as scarcely to need pointing out; and are such as must be admitted by every dispassionate and candid mind. At the commencement of the undertaking, its object and design was stated to be that of presenting to the public accurate Reports of Sermons delivered by the most eminent preachers of the
present day, both of the Establishment and among the Digsenters : and an examination of the contents of the Volume, will, it is presumed, be found to justify all the expectations which the “ Address" fairly warranted.
The Volume comprises Twenty-eight weekly Numbers of Twenty Pages each, agreeably to the original stipulation, with an addition of Four-and-twenty Pages of letter-press, for which no charge whatever is made to the purchaser. To facilitate the labour of reference, a table of Contents is prefixed, which will guide the eye of the reader to the subject of the Sermon--the text on which it is founded—the Preacher's name—and the page on which the Sermon commences, according to the order in which the Sermons lie in the Volume. But that nothing should be wanting to render the Work as complete as possible, two Indexes are added, in the first of which each Preacher's name will be found alphabetically arranged—the place of his stated ministrations, where the Discourse was not delivered to his own congregation, supplied—also the subject of his Sermon, or Sermons, and a reference to the page on which it begins : in the second Index, the texts are arranged according to the order in which they lie in the Bible, with the Preacher's name, and the page.
On the cheapness of the Volume it would be superfluous to dilate. The reader has only to examine the Number of Pages of which it consists—the fulness of the Page—the smallness of the type--the quality of the paper, and the general neatness of the whole, and to compare it with the regular prices of publications of the same size and quality of execution, to be satisfied that “ The British Pulpit” is one of the most moderately priced Volumes that has recently been offered to the public, and that nothing short of a very extended
sale can indemnify the Proprietor for the expense and pains at which it is brought out. And while adverting to the article of expense, it may not be amiss to apprise the public that, in order to insure the greatest possible accuracy in reporting, two, and in some instances no less than three Short-hand writers have been engaged in taking down one and the same Sermon.
In a few instances, the Editor has been induced to give place to a Sermon that had been preached previous to the commencement of the British Pulpit; but he trusts that this will require no other apology than that which will be furnished by the value of the Sermon itself.
To those Ministers who have kindly favoured him with copies of their pulpit addresses, or who have taken upon themselves the trouble of revising them for the press, he most respectfully tenders his grateful acknowledgments, and entreats a repetition of their favours. There are others, also, who approve of the publication, and have promised their assistance, to whom he returns thanks, and hopes to avail himself of their generous co-operation in the forthcoming Volume. May he be permitted, in this place, to repeat the intimation given in the “ Address” which was issued at the commencement of the undertaking, to such Ministers as are desirous of revising their Sermons before they appear in the British Pulpit, that he shall be most happy to comply with their wish in that respect, and on receiving an intimation to that effect, addressed to the British Pulpit Office, No. 2, Angel Court, Skinner Street, the manuscript shall be forwarded to them.
To those Correspondents who have obligingly favoured the Elitor with copies or abstracts of Sermons of their own or of their
friends reporting, he is truly grateful; but holding himself responsible, as he does, for the general accuracy of whatever appears in this publication, he makes it an invariable rule, not to insert any Sermon which is not furnished by the regular Short-hand writers connected with the Work, unless authenticated by the Minister who preached it.
It may be
proper further to mention, that “ The British Pulpit” is restricted to the insertion of Sermons only: and that whatever comes under the description of Addresses, Courses of Lectures, &c. is delivered to the public in Supplementary Numbers. It may be as well to repeat, in this place, that the Work appears in Weekly Numbers, price Threepence each, stitched in a wrapper, on the pages of which are inserted Notices of Sermons, Religious Meetings, &c. for the ensuing week. A Monthly Part, price One Shilling, comprising Four weekly Numbers, is also published at the end of each month, in a neat wrapper, and is ready for delivery with the Magazines. It only remains to add to what respects the mechanical department of the publication, that the present Volume may be regarded as a fair specimen of those that shall follow; and that, fostered by the patronage of a liberal public, there shall be no diminution of exertion, on the part of those who are engaged in bringing it out, to render it worthy of universal support.
British Pulpit Office, 2, Angel-court, Skinner-street,
London, July 1, 1834.