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WHEN any new book appears in the world, it is
ufualto give fome account of the reafons of its
publication. If it is a religious book, the public have
a right to expedl this. It is dangerous to countenance
the miniftrations of any man, who pretends to preach
the gofpel, till one be fatisfied about his having a re-
gular call to preach. And when a man writes upon
a religious fubjed:, tender Chriflians will always have
the more freedom in perufing his writings, if they are
fatisfied about his call to write. From this conlide-
ration, the Author of the following Sermons holds
himfelf bound to inform all, into whofe hands they
may come, of the following circumftances.

Several members of the congregation with which
he is connedted, and fome others, had expreifed their
dellre for the publication of fome particular fermons
contained in the following colledion : And fometimes
had infilled for it with peculiar earneftnefs. But a
fenfe of his own weaknefs made the Author long de-
cline complying with fuch importunities. At laft^
he was prevailed upon, at the delire of a neighbour-
ing congregation, to publifli a lingle fermon. And it
had a reception from the public beyond his expedla-
tions. Encouraged by this, the members of his own
congregation not only renewed their folicitations a-
bout particular difcourfes ; but fome of them inlifted
for the publication of all his atlion fermons, as they
are ufually called. As he could not think it his duty
to pay lefs regard to the delires of his own congregation,
than tothofeofanother,heiignified,atlength, to fome of

a 2 '^ them,



them, that if the defire was general in the congrega-
tion, he would not obflinately ftand in the way of it.
They to whom this was lignified mentioned it to their
brethren ; and the matter was carried from one (tep
to another, till there was fufficient evidence that the
delire was univerfal among them.

In confcquencc of this, propofals were publifhed
for printing thofe action fermons; together with a few
others, that are evidently connected with fome of
them. The Author's defign, in publifhing the pro-
pofals, was chiefly to obtain fatisfadlion, about his ha-
ving the call of providence to publifh the fermons.
Being perfuaded, that if tlie voice of the people is, in
any cafe, the voice of God, according to the ancient
maxim, it is pecuUarly fo in matters of this kind ; he
determined either to publifh or not, according to the
reception that the propofals fhould meet with among
the ferious part of mankind. Nor did he finally re~
folve upon the publication, till he was fatisfied that
there was a demand for the fermons in moft places
where he is known, and even in fundry places where
his face has not been feen. But as the call of a
Chriflian congregation was a principal mean of fatis-
fying him tliat he had the call of God to preach the
gofpel, he could not but look upon the call of the
fame congregation, when joined with that of fome
hundreds from other places, as having equal weight
to fatisfy him that he had a like call to publiili a part
of what he had preached. On this account, he durfl
no longer refufe to let the fermons go abroad ; more
efpecially when he took into confideration the follov\^-
ing things.

Fi}J}, There are fome exercifed perfons, he trufta,



whofe experience will tellify, that the bleJiHag of God
was not altogether wanting, while fome of thefe fer-
mons were delivered. And he knows that it is God's
ufual method, to carry on his work by means and in-
ftrmnents that are weak of themfelves, and, in human
reckoning, contemptible; *' that the excellency of the
" power may be of God, and not of us." Hereby he
is encouraged to expedl, that a limilar bleiling may
accompany the reading of them, to fome few of the
people of God. And, if this is the cafe, an end will
be gained fufficient to balance all difcouraging con-

Secondly, Very few fermons have been publiihed
of late by members of the AlTociate Synod, but fuch
as were delivered upon occafions that natively led to
matters of controverfy. Indeed, there, have been,
comparatively, few publications of any kind by Se-
ceders, unlefs upon controverted fubjeds. This has gi-
ven occalion to them who know us only by fuch wri-
tings, to think, that, even in our ordinary difcourfes,
we entertain our hearers v/ith nothing but matters of
controverfy ; or, as fome are plealed to fpeak, with
railing againfl every denomination of men but our-
felves. To convince fuch perfons of their miilake, it
may not be improper to fet before the public an ex-
ample of thofe difcourfes with which feceding con-
gregations are entertained, whv^n there is no call for

Thirdly, There are various things lately publifhed,
under the name of Sermons, that bear no more rela-
tion to the gofpel of Chrifl than the difcourfes of a
Heathen philofopher. And fome that run in dired
oppofition to the capital dodrines of the Chriitian fy-

a 3 ftem.



ftem. The following difcourfes, I hope, will be found
agreeable to the form of found words. And the pro-
pagation of gofpel-truth, in its native fimplicity, is^
perhaps, the beft antidote againft the baneful influ-
ence of error of every kind. When the prophet that
hath a dream, will needs tell his dream; why fhould
not he that hath God's wordfpeak his word faithfully ^
and publifh it too? For what is the chaff to the wheat,
faith the Lord*P

Such were the motives which induced the Author
to pubhlh the two firft volumes of thefe fermons in
the year 1781. Similar reafons prevailed with him
to publiQi the third volume twelve years after. In
fome of the firft fermons of that volume there is more
of a controverfial nature than in any other part of the
work. But, \^4len the fubjedt and the occalion are
confidered, he trufts it will appear that this could not
ealily be avoided. And as he is not confcious of ha-
ving faid any thing that was not warranted by the
fcriptures of truth, he has fuffered the difcourfes to go
abroad as they were delivered.

As few copies of the firft edition, particularly of the
two firft volumes, were thrown off, beyond what were
necelfary to fupply the numerous fubfcribers, fundry
demands have been made for them which could not
be anfwered. This, together with the unexpedled
fuccefs of a late publication of a different kind, has
encouraged tlie Author to comply with the advice of
feme friends, in hazarding this fecond edition of all the

I am well aware that there are too many books al-
ready in the world ; but this has been the cafe for

* Jer. xxlif. 28.


iiiany centuries pail. And if this had been coniider-
ed as a fufficient reafon to delill from publication, the
world had for ever been deprivedfof the mofl valuable
books on every fubjedt. A book that deferves it, will
continue to be read and efleemedby the judicious ;
though the number that is in the world were doubled.
And one that does not deferve to be read will very
foon ceafe to be troublefome, by faUing naturally into
the number of thofe ufelefs volumes, which, though
they continue to exift, are no longer known to be in
the world.

Nor am I lefs feniible that the taile for religious
books, efpecially for fermons, is far from being univer-
fal at this day. But, inftead of being difcouraged from
pubhfliing fuch books on that account, I apprehend
every well-wi(her to religion fliould publifli them the
rather ; that, through the bleffing of God, they may
contribute, if poilible, to revive that rehfli for fpiritual
things, which is fd much fallen into defuetude.

Neither do 1 think that my fermons are more fit for
publication than thofe ofmany of my fathers and breth-
ren, who, perhaps, never entertained a thought of pub-
lifliing. I know it to be far otherwife. They doubt-
lefs have their reafons for not publifhing. My reafons
for taking an.oppolite courfe are already mentioned j
and the world will judge of their relevancy. They
are fuch as have weight with me. Though I have
but a mite to contribute, towards promoting the work
of God, in which I have the honour to be employed,
even that mite muil; not be wanting when my great
Mailer calls for it.

No author can be fo fanguine as to expedl to efcape
cenfure, in an age when every man is a critic. Nor




do I know why any fliould defire it. All mortal men
have their failings ; and all the works of men mud
needs have their faults. If a man lays his work be-
fore the world ; to wifh the faults of it to pafs unob-
ferved, is to wifli thajt mankind wxre blind. For my
part, 1 (hall never think it my duty to be offended at
any cenfures that may be pad upon what I pubhih ;
whether they be jull or unjult. If they are juft, I
ought to be thankful for them ; and if unjuft, I hope
I fhall be able to defpife them. Only there are tw^o
things, that I hope every reader will have candour e-
nough to keep in view, in making his obfervations —
I. I am not confcious of having changed my opinion,
concerning any point of dodlrine touched at in thefe
difcourfes, fince the time that the firft of them was
delivered. I therefore hope, that none will accufe
me of contradicting myfelf, without jull caufe. If a-
ny exprefTion is thought ambiguous, let it be under-
ftood in a fenfe confident with what I fay in other
places; if it is capable of fuch a fenfe. 2. 1 have fo-
lemnly declared my adherence to the dod:rine, wor-
fliip, difcipline and government of the reformed Church
of Scotland ; as contained in her approved ftandards:
And to the principles of the feceiTion; as contained in
public ads of the AJfociate Prejbytery and Synod,
Nor have I ever repented of that declaration. I beg,
therefore, that none may accufe, or fufped me of con-
tradicting any of thefe, if my words are capable of a
fenfe that is confident wuth them.

As to the dile of thefe difcourfes, it is purpofely
fimple and plain. They were delivered to an audience
made up, for the mod part, of country people. And
it is chiefly for the behoof of fuch that they are pub-



liihed. To addrefs fuch an audience in a high flile,
is much the fame as to fpealc to them in an unknown
tongue. The principal ufe of language is to commu-
nicate one's thoughts to his hearers. And when this
end is not attained, one fpeaks in vain. Every preacher
of the gofpel ihould fpeak as one that is affected with
his fubjedl, and as one w^ho wiflies his hearers to be fo
too. But I am perfuaded, that neither tropes and fi-
gures, nor learned expreffions and terms of art, nor
yet an affectation of w^ell- turned periods or quaint z^, '2-
tithefes, are the genuine language of the heart. Nor
are they calculated to touch the heart of an audience,
however they may amufe their fancy. A play of
words I always coniider as an evidence of a heart at
eafe. Nor have I ever found an audience affected by
it ; unlefs with indignation againit the fpeaker, or tUo,
with a vain admiration of his abilities. Of all fubje6ls,
none is fo much difgraced by aifedation in llile, as re-
ligion. The enticing words of man^s wifdom were ne-
ver an ornament to the gofpel ofChrifl, nor never will.-
Nothing can be more juft than the obfervation of a
learned and judicious critic, in a late publication *.
*' Of fentiments purely religious, it will be found, that
*' the moft limple expreffion is the mcft fublime. The
*' ideas of Chriftian theology are too fimple for elo-
" quence, too facred for fiction, and too majeuic for
" ornament. To recommend them by tropes and fi-
" gures, is to magnify, by a concave mirror, the fide-
" real hemifphere." What is aimed at in thefe dif-
courfes, is a flile as free asl could make it from gram«
matical blunders ; and from fuch low expreirions as
tend to expofe the gofpeltoridicule, among thole who

* Dr Johnfton, in the life of V/aller.


are judges of compofitlon ; but a ftile intelligible to
the meaneft capacity. How far 1 have fucceeded in
that aim, the candid world will judge.

As moll of the difcourfes in the two firll volumes'
v/crc deUvcred on fimiiar occafions, and had a refpedl:
to the folemn ordinance that was to be difpenfed im-
mediately after, it is almoll impoliible but there rauil;
be fome repetitions. I have endeavoured that they
may be as few as poffible. And if the fam.e truth is
repeated in different difcourfes, I hope there will be
found fuch variations, in tlie fentiment and expreffion,
as will, at lead, prevent difguft.

With fome readers, the length of fome of thefe dif-
courfes may be an objedion againil them. But ma-
ny of them were divided in the delivery. And though,
for preferving the connedion, they are publiflied with-
out fuch divifion, the reader will fmd abundance of
refting places.

That the blefiing of God may accompany thefe fer-
mons to every reader, particularly to thofe of the con-
gregation in which molt of them Avere delivered; and
that they may reap fpiritual advantage by them, after
the Author's labours can be no longer profitable to
them in another way, is the earnefl prayer of him

Whofe perfon and endeavours are devoted

to ferve their glorious Redeemer and them
in the work of the Gofpel.


Hawick I'^tb Nov,



The gracious prefence of God in his own Ordinances, an ob-
je6l of earned Defire to every acceptable Worlhipper.

Page I

Pfal. cxxxii. 8. Arifey Lord, into thy reft, thou and tlse
ark ofthyjlrength,


The dying Command of Chrift explained and inculca-
ted. - - - - 36

I Cor, xi. 24. This do in remembrance of me,


The mutual Intereft, that Chrift and the Church have in
one another, explained. - - .63

Song ii. 16. My beloved is mine, and I am his,


The Death of Chrift an inexhauftible theme of Wonder and
Praife to the Church. - . . pj

Rev. V. 9, 'Jhou art worthy^or thou waftjlain,




Chrift's Blood the onlj price of our Redemption. Page 123.

Rev. V. 9. And haji redeemed us to God by thy blood,


The Breathings of Love : A difcourfe introductory to the
Song of Solomon. - - - - 155

Song i. I, — 4. l^he Jong of Jongs which is Solomon^ s. Let
him kijs me with the kijfes of his ?nouth : for thy love is bet-
ter than nine, Becaufe of the favour of thy good ointments^
thy name is as ointme7it poured forth : therejore do the vir^.
gins love thee. Draw me, we will run after thee,


The Feaft of Love ; or the Believer admitted to intimate
fellowihip and Communion with Chrift. - 19©-

Song i. 4. ^he King hath brought me into his chambers,


The overflowings of love ; or fpi ritual gladnefs and rejoi-
cing in Chrift the native eifed of the Believer's Com-
munion with him. * - - - 223

Song i. 4. — We will be glad and rejoice in thee,

The Love of Chrift a fubjed of pleafing Contemplation to
all that love him, - - . - , 148

Song i. 4. We will remember thy love more than wine,




The Believer's grateful remembrance of the Love of
Chrift. - - - - . Page 275

From, the fame text,


Evangelical Uprightnefs, accompanied in every one that has
it with unfeigned Love to Chrift. - <^ 301

Song i. 4. — Tihe upright love thee,


The fair Ethiopian ; or the Spoufe of Chrlf!:, though black
in herfelf, comely in him, - - - 327

Song 1.5. / am hiack hut comely^ ye daughters of feriu


The wild Arab civilized, and fettled in Peace; or the Spoufe
of Chrift comparable both to the tents of Kedar and
to the curtains of Solomon. - - 355

Song i. 5, ^s tie tents of Kedar ^ as the curtains of Solo-*

God's Light and Truth our only fure and fafe Guides to his
Holy Hill and into his Tabernacles. • 387

Pfal. xliii. 3. fend out thy light and thy truth ; let them
lead me : let them bring me to thy ho^y h'lll^ and to thy ta^

S E R»



Communion with God the Chriftian's aim, in attending du
vine Orduiances. - - - P^ge 42®

Pfal. xliii. 4. — I'hen will I go to the altar of God ; unto God
my exceeding joy»


A Look into the Grave of Chrift. - - - 449

Matth. xxviii. 6. Come, fee the place where the Lord lay.


Page 17. Line 8. for hundreds read hundred

18 8. — difpofTed difpoflefled

38. 7. — foreget — forget

do. — 13. warrent warrant

- 164. II. — redered ■■■ rendered

— — 208. — 21. —- cquire enquire

8 E R.





The gracious Frefence of God in his own Ordinari'^
ces, a7t Ohjedl of earneft de/ire to every accept-
able Worfjipper.

. ^ Psalm cxxxii. 8.


THIS day has been appointed for the celebration
of a folemn feall in this place. I fee a nume-
rous multitude, of men and women, alTembled for
that purpofe. But it will avail us nothing, though
all the inhabitants of the world were prefent, and all
the angels in heaven, if God himfelf be not among
us. As he is the Maker of the feait, it is ntcelBiry
that he be prefent to entertain the gueils, to appoint
every one his portion according to liis need, and to
make the company glad with his countenance. If
this is awanting, the work of the day will go heavily
Vol. L A * forward;

2 7 he gracious Prefence of God, See.

fonvard ; the people of God will continue both hun-
gry and ibrrowful ; his enemies will be hardened in
their enmity againll himielf and againil his ordinan-
ces ; thofe ordinances will be profaned ; and, in eve-
ry refped, our meeting together will be for the worfe,
not for the better. That this may not be the cafe,
let us all join together, in the entry of the day's work,
in pleading for the gracious prefence of God among
us, in the words which the Holy Ghoft fuggefts in this
text : " Arife, O Lord, into thy reft ; thou, and the
" ark of thy ilrength."

Tliis pfalm is thought to have been compofed a-
bout the time when the ark of God was brought up,
to the place which David had prepared for it at Je-
rufalem. From the time that it was carried captive
by the Philiilines, till that time, which is thought to
have been upwards of an hundred years, there had
been no regular obfervance of God's folemn worfhip :
Nor v/as it pofTible that there lliould, while the altar
of burnt offering with the tabernacle was in one place,
and the ark of the covenant in another. But now,
God had intimated to his fervant David, that Jeru-
falem was the place which he had chofen to put his
name there. At Jerufalem, therefore, had David,
with God's approbation, prepared a place for the re-
ception of the ark ; and thither they were bringing
it up. By this means, they had a near profpe6l, as
we now have, of an opportunity to wait upon God,
in his folemn ordinances, agreeably to his own infti-
tution. And they refolved to embrace the opportu-
nity ; as they exprefs themfelves in the preceding
verfe : " We will go into his tabernacle ; we will
*' worfhip at his footflooL"


the Dejtre of every acceptable Wor/hippet^ 3

But they were fenfible, that they could neither at-
tend upon God, in his tabernacles, in an acceptable
manner, nor enjoy any folid happinefs or fatisfadion,
in attending his ordinances, unlefs God liimfelf was
gracioufly prefent among them. Accordingly, their
firfl exercife, after declaring their refolution, as a-^
bove, was to invite God's prefence with them, arid
his relidence among them, in the place into which
his ark was brought. This they do in the words of
the text.

In this branch of exercife, it is both our duty and
our interefl to imitate them, whenever we attend up*
on the ordinances of God's worfliip. But, as there is
a great difference between thofe carnal ordinances^ by
which God was worlhipped under that difpenfation,
and thefe fpiritual inllitutions wliich we have in New
Teilament days ; and a limilar difference between
our attendance upon ordinances and theirs ; fo there
is likewife a happy difference between the manner
and degree, in which the prefence of God may be ex-
pedled with us, and that in which it was enjoyed by
them. To all thefe differences we Ihould have an
eye, when endeavouring an imitation of their exercife.
The words, therefore, may be ct)nfidered as exhibit- -
ing to us the following pradical truth.

All who have an opportunity of *wor pipping God,
by a regular attendance upon the folemn ordinances
of his injlitution, fjjould have it as their firfl reqiiejl,
that they may enjoy the gracious prefence of God,
along with the fymbols of his prefence^ in thofe ordi-

A2 If

4 7 he gracious Prefence of God, Sec,

If we view the words more attentively, they pre-
fent to our confideration the following things :

1. The glorious jobjedl, to w^hom the people of God^
by the mouth of the royal Pfalmifl, prefent their
fupplication, in the view of a folemn appearance be-
fore God, in the ordinances of his worfliip. It was
Jehovah himfeh": The fame into whofe tabernacles
they refolved to go ; that they might worJJAp at his

2. The place to which he was invited, or where
they rcqueited his prefence ; here called his rejl.
This is the fame place that w^as called his tabernacles
in the preceding verfe. Where they had refolved
to go, thither they befought God to come; that they
might have a comfortable meeting with him.

3. The invitation w^hich they, humbly, yet confi-
dently, addrefs to him, in the word arife. A very
ilrange expreffion this I Would it not be more pro-
per to fay, Come into thy reft, he dow^n, or lit down
in thy reit ? Nay, The reafon of this unufual man-
ner of fpeech you fliall hear in a little, if the Lord

4. The manner in which he was defired and ex-
pected to accept the invitation. They did not alk
him to be prefent, unlefs in a manner adapted to the
difpenfation under which they lived; and under thofe
fymbols, by which his prefence among them was al-
ways exhibited, and fecured. They only wifhed him
to be prel'ent, along.with the ark ofMv^Jirength,

Some fhorf exphcation of thefe four particulars,
and a few inferences for improvement, ihall, through
Divine afliitance, engage our attention in the follow-
mg part of thij difcourfe.


the Defire of every acceptable Worjhipper, 5

Tvi^firjl thing obferved in the words was th.e glo-
lious Objed, to whom this prayer is addrefled. He
is the Lord, to whom alone all prayers ought to be
addreifed. The great name Jehovah is ufed in the
original language. And this name imports the fol-
lowing things ; all very necelTary to be attended to
on fuch an occaiion as this.

I . He, to whom this great name belongs, is the in-
, dependent, felf-exiitent God, whofe being is in and
of hiiiifelf ; and 'who gives being to all his words and
works. The name Jehovah, being derived from a
root which lignifies to be, is expreffive of the moft
perfed and independent exiitence. It reprefents
God as the Author of all being ; and puts us in
mind that he made us, and not we ourfelves.
Though the benefits of creation are not the princi-
pal fubjecls of our commemoration, or of our gratis
tude to-day, they ought by no means to be forgot-
ten, or overlooked by us. The Sabbath itfelf has a
primary refpecl to thefe. It ilill continues to be a
part of the delign of the ChriHian Sabbath, though
it is not the principal delign of it, to keep up a grate-
ful remembrance of God as our Creator ; and of his
iiniihing creation-work. To remember this is our
intereft, as v/ell as our duty. The fame almighty
power and unfearchable wifdom, \vhich were mani-
fefted in the work of creation, may encourage us to
rely upon God for all that he hath promifed, hov/e-
ver difficult the accomphfliment of his promife m^ay

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