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IT is presumed the first part of this Manual of Devotion, taken from the Manuscript papers of Mr Toplady, will not be unacceptable to the Public, because it is set forth as a form of prayer. Amongst the many unnecessary disputes in the Christian Department, a question has been often propounded, Whether a person can present himself at the footstool of the Divine Majesty, using the words of another, and be a sincere worshipper ? Certainly, in our private.or recluse devotions, it is proper to come before God, and pour cut, in simplicity and sincerity, the immediate solicitations that we are in need of, expecting eur imperfect aspirations to be accepted only in and through the mediation of the Lord Jesus. But some indiscreet captious individuals have prematurely censured those who have adopted a premeditated course of prayer in their families, or in public assemblies, as the quintessence of hypocrisy and the apathy of formality. By this criterion, may not the same suggestions be urged against the universality of singing psalms or hymns? If such poetic composition, which consist of prayer and thanksgiving, are used as a form, wherein can be the impropriety or inconsistency of a devout supplicant offering the same in prose? How assuming must it be in any person to take upon himself the inquisitorial part of prejudging the uprightness of another, and bearing down the hone-t efforts of an humble mind, before that period arrives, when the secrets of all hearts shall viii PREFACE TO THE FORMER EDITIONS.
be made known. Let us in the interval anticipate that eventful crisis, when we shall enter upon that state, where there will be nothing to pray for, but every thing to be thankful for; where mental imperfections will be absorbed in the lustre of uncreated perfection, and every thing give place to unmingled and unalloyed adorations to God and the Lamb for ever.
The Course of Prayer was formerly printed by itself, and received the approbation of various monthly critics, and of several eminent religious characters. It was judged expedient after the Public had encouraged eight impressions, to enrich the little fugitive with several interesting extracts from the author's writings.
The Editor cannot close this page without giving his suffrage to the memory of the writer. His great genius and extensive erudition held him out as an extraordinary character : but what shone most conspicuous, where the graces of the Holy Spirit, freely giving him of God, so that he was euabled to defend the doctrines of faith, or the gospel system of truths, with an untrembling hand, and with an unfaultering tongue.
His regenerate heaven-born soul dwelt in a sickly infirm body, from which he retired, after thirty-eight years residence, and may be said to have died with the gospel standard in his hand.
GREAT MARLBOROUGH STREET.
CHARACTER AND WRITINGS
By G. WATKINS, L.L. D.
Σγω καλαντων τα ανδρος της τη σοφιαν και γενναιολογία, οτε μη μεμνησθαι δυναμαι αυθα, ελε μεμνημενα μη
XENOPHON PRO SOCRAT.
In delineating the moral or literary portrait of an eminent character, some considerable difficulty will always be found, least the influence of admiration should, on the one hand, prevail over truth or the prejudice of dislike, arising from difference of opinion, should incline us to make faults or to exaggerate them. I frankly confess that the subject I have taken in hand, stands exceedingly high in my esteem. His character, in every point of view, is regarded by me with great veneration ; but then, that esteem and veneration have been the produce of a close examination into the particulars of his life, and an accurate investigation of his several writings. Time was, when the theological system, adopted and defended by Mr. Toplady, was in my opinion, and unsupported by the scriptures, and he himself deserving of no respect. A closer examination of the written word has wrought in my mind a differentjudgment both of the one and the other. With respect to the former, I shall say no more, but refer my readers to the works of this brilliant luminary, particularly his“ Church of England vindicated from the Charge of Arminianism," and his “ Historic Proof of the Doctrinal Calvinism of the Church of England.”
* When I consider the wisdom and the boldness of the man, I cannot but reinember him, and when I remember bim, cannot but praise hiin.
But with respect to Mr. Toplady himself, I propose, without taking up the office of a professed biographer, to trace as well as I am able, the leading features of his character, as a MAN, A MINISTER,
and a WRITER.
The first thing which strikes us in his disposition is, a bold independence of spirit. There was a native honesty and dignity in his mind which raised him superior to every artifice and to any unbecoming mode of behaviour. This very independence made him affable and generous where he saw a corresponding temper, even though the party was diametrically opposite to him in sentiment. He had a most exalted regard for integrity of mind, and could not but respect it, ihough he found it united with heresy or scepticism. But this disposition made him, by a very natural consequence, as keen an enemy to duplicity of every kind especially that which wore the mask of religion. When he saw popular men professing an extraordinary regard for evangelical christianity, and for the Church of England, opposing by the lowest arts the doctrines they had subscribed, his honest spirit took fire, and he treated them not with "courtly phrase” and accommodating expressions, which in his mind would have been injuring the cause of truth, but with open rebuke and vigorous argument. His friendships were formed upon the most liberal principles, without any regard to sect or party; and maintained with constancy of affection, without any of those intervals of separation, which are common among persons of narrow and pettish minds. Mr. Toplady was of that exalted sentiment, as to hold in esteem with undiminished affection, those very persons who, fickle themselves, treated him with coolness and reserve. His generosity was unbounded and his charities far exceeded the limits of his income. The voice of distress never reached