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ROBERT S. CANDLISH, D.D.,
AND 26 PATERNOSTER ROW, LONDON.
It is not mere affectation that makes me avoid the use of the title “Sermons " in designating the following papers. Nearly all of them were, in point of fact, written and delivered as pulpit discourses, either in the course of the Author's ordinary ministry, or on particular occasions; and they will doubtless be found to bear the usual marks of compositions intended rather to be heard than to be read. But I would not wish them to be regarded as fair specimens of what I think the preaching of the gospel to a congregation, from Sabbath to Sabbath, ought to be. Not inadmissible at intervals, for the sake of variety—not inconsistent with evangelical doctrine, or incapable of a practical application—they are still not altogether what one would call “ gospel sermons.” At all events, I prefer that they should be judged by a somewhat more flexible and accommodating standard, than I might myself apply to compositions professing to be the utterances of ambassadors for Christ, in the direct discharge of their commission, beseeching men to be reconciled to God.
For the very miscellaneous character of the volume, some apology is due. A slight thread of connection may perhaps be traced in certain portions of it; and one or two subjects are pretty fully discussed. But for the most part, the papers are but desultory and fragmentary essays; suggesting topics of inquiry, rather than exhausting them; and neither fitted nor
intended to demonstrate any one truth, or series of truths, in the system of Theological or Moral Science, On this account I have hesitated much about obtruding them on general notice, and I even suspended the publication for a considerable time. Circumstances, however, of no interest to the community, have led me to complete the work and consent to its issue. And such as it is, it may be welcome and useful to friendly readers.
Some of the papers have appeared in print before. They have undergone, however, such revision-often amounting almost to re-writing—that I can scarcely plead guilty to any charge of plagiarism against myself. I have endeavoured to present them in a form more worthy of preservation than the hasty publication of most of them at the time permitted.
I could have wished that, in appearing thus before the public, I had had a better reason to give for printing a book than the usual apologies which, if I chose, I might adopt. Had it been a treatise more evidently called for by the times, or more directly bearing upon the defence of Divine truth, the interests of society, or the advancement of Scriptural knowledge, I might have been more justified in hazarding the publication. But let it pass. And, such as it is, may a blessing from on high accompany it!
EDINBURGII, 23 May 1850.
JOHN xviii. 28-xix. 16; LUKE Xxiii.; MATTHEW Xxvii.