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METHODIST EPISCOPAL PULPIT:
A COLLECTION OF
LIVING MINISTERS OF THE M. E. CHURCH.
COLLECTED AND REYISED
BY REV. DAVIS W. CLARK, A. M.
New – Vork:
“ Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1847, by G. Lane & C. B. Tippett, in the Clerk's Office of the District Court, of the Southern District of New-York."
The collection of this volume of sermons, from living ministers of the Methodist Episcopal Church, was undertaken with the approval and co-operation of several brethren eminent for their piety and wisdom, as well as for their official standing in the church. It was hoped that the enterprise, if successful, would result in an addition of some value to an important department of our church literature. Our preaching, from the origin of Methodism, having been for the most part extemporaneous, few preachers have written and preserved manuscript sermons enough to form a volume. Even many of our most eminent divines and pulpit orators have left nothing behind them except the remembrance of their living efforts, and the results those efforts are continuing to produce. Hence the limited number of contributions that have been made to this branch of our literature.
We refer, indeed, with just pride, to the sermons of Wesley, Watson, and Clarke. The first distinguished for simple, clear, and strong exhibition of doctrinal and practical truth : the second for the classic beauty of his style, the aptness of his illustrations, and the clearness with which he perceived, and the power with which he defended, gospel truth : the last for the keenness of his criticism, and the exactness of his presentation of the different features of his subject. And yet it cannot be possible that within so limited a range of authors, great as may be their excellences, the various tastes of all should be suited, and the wants of all be supplied. Hence we find the shelves of not only our ministers, but also of our members, piled up with sermons that have originated without the pale of our own church, and many of them presenting and advocating doctrines opposed to the very fundamental principles of our theology. Of the fact that our people seek books abroad, when they cannot find a reasonable supply at home, we do not complain ; but we could desire the enlargement of the home supply, that the necessity for going abroad may be less urgent, and then the instances of it will be less frequent. .
This collection has the advantage of a great variety in style and mode of presenting and illustrating truth, such as is not to be found in a volume produced by the labor of one individual. We may also add, without attempting to forestall any judgment upon the character of the individual sermons, that when a minister sits down to the production of one sermon for such an object, it may fairly be presumed that he devotes to it more thought, more labor, and more time, than it would be possible for him to devote to each, were he writing a volume of sermons himself.
We believe we have not overrated the importance of this mode of teaching and perpetuating truth. To the preacher, well-written sermons not only impart