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plex the thoughts without adequate profit; and the latter is superseded by the Appendix to this volume.*
The Skoond Discourse, Of preaching Christ, and the THIRD, Of particular and Experimental Preaching, were composed by Mr. John Jennings, who kept an academy at Kibviorth in Leicestershire, and who was the tutor of the celebrated Dr. Doddridge. They were first published in 1723, with a recommendatory preface, by Dr. Waits; and were soon after translated and published in the German language, by order of Dr. Franck, professor of divinity in the university of Halle, in Saxony. In Dr. Watts's preface are manifested the same simplicity and good sense; piety and zeal, that so eminently distinguish his •ther productions. The pious reader will be gratified with it.
** When I see a book well written for the instruction of mankind, I always hope it will spread its good influence as far and wide as it finds readers. But when I meet with a valuable treatise, whose design is to improve, the sacred tkiil of preaching, I am ready to persuade myself, " Surely this will become a more extensive benefit; and the good influences of it will reach as many whole assemblies of men as there are ministers who shall happen to read it.'* For this reason, I cannot but take a special satisfaction in recommending these two discourses to the world; which, in my opinion, are founded upon the general principles of Christianity, and therefore invite the perusal of all, being written without the narrow spirit of a party. They seem ta Se calculated for the common good, nor have I observed
* Wilxiss's Zcclesiastes has been translated into the German language, by Mr. Henry Ittirskaces, who has added notes of Vis own, and augmented the catalogue of authors, especially Expositors «rf the seripturos. Vid. Woim Biblioth. Hcb. to«», any thing in them that can justly give disgust, Of awaken
any reasonable resentment.
. " It must be confessed, without controversy, that there* are some things, wherein several preachers of the present time have the advantage of our learned and pious fathers; but there are other excellencies in the sermons of the />«• ritanical age, which I should rejoice to find more studiously revived and cultivated in our day. Among these I know none of more eminent necessity, glory, and usefulness, than those two which are the subjectsof this little book; I mean the evangelical turn of thought that should run through our ministry, and the experimental way of discourse on practical subjects.
"It has been justly observed, that where a great and universal neglect of fireaching Christ hath prevailed' in a christian nation, it hath given a fatal occasion to the growth of Deism and Infidelity; for when persons have heard the sermons of their clergy, for many years together, and find little of Christ in them, they have taken it into their heads, that men may be very good men, and go safe to heaven, without christianity; and therefore, though they dwell in a land where the gospel is professed, they imagine there is no need they should be christians. But what a blot and reproaeh would it be to our ministry, if infidels and heathens should multiply among us, through such a woful neglect of preaching the peculiar doctrines qf Christ!
'"Besides, let us consider, how little hath been our suceess, in comparison of the multitudes converted by our fa» thers in the day of their ministry. Hath not this been matter of sore complaint these many years past? Now it is worth our inquiry, whether it may not be ascribed to the absence of Christ in our sermons. And what reason indeed can we have to expect the presence and influence of the Spirit of Christ, if we have his person, his offices, his grace, and his gospel, out of our discourses, or give but a slight and casual hint at these glorious subjects which ought to be our daily theme? This is what our author would put us in mind of in hhjirst discourse.
* And perhaps another cause of our want of success hath been this, That we have too much left off the way of our fathers, in distinguishing the characters of our hearers, and 1 dividing the word aright to saints and sinners, to the stupid and the profane, the awakened and convinced, the mournful and penitent, the presumptuous and obstinate, the deserted and despairing.
M This method appears eminently in the labour's of the former age. Those two great and good men, Mr. FtAVEii and Mr. Baxtkk, might be divided in their sentiments on other subjects, but you find this conduct runs through all their practical writings. This is a great part of what the second discourse here recommends to us, under the title of 'experimental preaching.'
'« Our author indeed assumes not so much to himself, as to address any besides students and younger ministers* But if in the middle age of life, we should examine our per* formances by the light of this treatise, it is possible we and our people might be gainers by it.
*' Have we not been too often tempted to follow the modish *>ay, and speak to our hearers in general terms, as thoughthey were All converted already, and sufficiently made christians by a national profession? Have not some of us spent our labour to build them up in the practice of duties, without teaching them to search whether the foundation has been laid in an /entire change and renovation of heart?/ Do we lead them constantly to inquire into the inward state of their spirits, their peculiar difficulties, dangers, and temptations, and give them peculiar assistance in all this Variety of the christian life?
"With how much more efficacy does the word of God impress the conscience, when every hearer finds himself described without the preacher's personal knowledge of him! When his own spiritual state is painted to the life, and as it were, set before his eyes in the language of th« preacher! When a word ot conviction, advice or comfort, is spoken so pertinently to his own case, that he takes it as directed to himself. How much more powerful and more penetrating will our sermons be, when those who come into our assemblies shall he 1 convinced and judged, and have the secrets of their hearts made manifest, and confess that God is in the midst of us of a truth!
"The perusal of these excellent discourses in manuscript hath given me so much satisfaction, that I take a sensible pleasure to think that the press will communicate them to the world; and then I hope for a further share of profit, by keeping them always at my right hand when I am preparing for the service of the sanctuary. May the blessed Spirit of God teach those who enter into the sacred office this holy skill of winning souls! May he awaken us all to see what may be mended in our ministrations, in order to publish the gospel of Christ with more illustrious and divine success.
The Fourth Discourse, Of the most useful way of preaching, was written originally as a letter to a friend, in the German language, by the excellent Dr. Fhanck, and was translated into Latin by order of his son. The two discourses, by Mr. J. Jennings, and this letter, translated by Ills brother, were reprinted in London, 17-36, with Dr. Watts's preface, and the following advertisement by the same hand:
« That excellent letter, concerning the best method of preaching, which stands annexed to this new edition of Mr. Jennings's discourses, was written in the German tongue by that venerable and apostolic man, Herman Augustus F&akck, late professor of divinity at Halle, in Saxony, and was communicated to me, last winter, by his worthy son, Gotthiu Augustus Franck, who happily fills and adorns the same post in that university, and seems to be possessed of the same spirit of faith and love. It is now turned into English by my valuable friend Mr. David JenNings, the surviving brother of the author, who perfectly agreed with me in this sentiment, that it should be made public in ourown language,and printed together with these two discourses, as being eminently suited to promote the same design of an experimental and evangelical way of preaching. And I persuade myself, that every reader who could relish and approve what Mr. John Jennings has written on this subject, will be very well pleased and entertained with the perusal of this small essay of that great man, professor Franck, on the same argument; and may both be attended with divine success!"
"This is a book," says Mr. Orton,* speaking of the two discourses and letter recommended by Dr. Watts, ** that deserves the serious attention of every minister; and I have been informed, that at its first publication, two bishops of the church of England, with an amiable candour, publicly recommended it to the perusal of their clergy, at their visitations."
The Fifth Discourse, On Kulet of Conduct, has a more strict relation to preaching than the title seems at first t» import, since it refers to the preacher's personal religion, his private studies, and public labours, no less then his conversasion.lt is an abridgment of the first part of Dt.watts's "Humble attempt towards the revival of practical religion." In the preface to that publication, the author observes:
"The exhortation to ministers was composed at the request of my worthy friend and brother, Mr. John Oakes, and designed to have been delivered at his public ordination.
* Life of Doddriuce, p. 13.