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himself. He was an instrument raised up in remarkable times, and for extraordinary ends. His discursive mode of address, and all his other eccentricities, were parts of the man, and were in no small degree excusable in one who has been known, when past seventy years of age, to preach thrice a day for a week, and that with a solemnity and effect of which there are but few instances in modern times. Whatever may have been the faults of his sermons, they were according to the purest standard of doctrine, while his applications were most affectionate and earnest; nor did he ever preach himself, or set up his own imagination in the place of truth, or study to please men. Under the impression, therefore, that a few specimens of his happiest addresses from the pulpit, exhibiting a more than usual adherence to his subjects, would be gratifying to the public, and urged to carry my design into. effect by some who really desired to see them, I applied myself to the compilation
of the present volume, with a due estimate of the difficulty of the task, which will be best appreciated by those who were his frequent hearers. In order to bring these discourses out with some degree of neatness, I found it necessary to abridge them, and to omit all irrelevant digressions, retaining only the leading matter; and I trust they will not be the legs acceptable on account of their brevity, or less fruitful because the luxuriant growth of an extemporaneous fancy has been pruned and trained by the hand of the editor. It would almost seem as if Mr. Hill had proceeded in these sermons, upon the plan recommended by an old divinel of just celebrity, who says, “as preaching must not be curious, so neither overslight, consisting of raw, sudden, indigested meditations. The word must not be torn, but divided; not tossed, but handled; the text not only named, but followed; there must be a diligent kind
of negligence in handling the word.” This is an exact description of the examples of Mr. Hill's preaching contained in these pages. The Fragments also will be found to be original and striking.
I have much pleasure in acknowledging the principal source from which I gathered the whole to have been the manuscripts of Mr. T. W. Brookman, who was long in the habit of taking down the sermons delivered in Surrey chapel by its late venerable minister. My thanks are likewise due to George Davenport, Esq. for the kind manner in which he sent me his notes, made in the same place, as soon as he heard of my intention. This will probably be my last tribute to the memory of my revered relative, who selected me for his biographer; but as the papers he bequeathed to me, to be used at my discretion, contain also materials for a
• I have already acknowledged the assistance derived from the notes of Mr. Brookman, in the preface to my " Mature Reflections and Devotions of the Rey. Rowland Hill in his old age.”
memoir of the late Sir Richard Hill, it is my intention, as soon as I can find leisure for the purpose, to write the history of his remarkable life, the events of which are not inferior in interest to those of his brother Rowland. Ample scope will also be afforded me, for interweaving with my account of his zealous efforts in the cause of religion, many curious facts relating to the progress of truth in the middle of the last century, which have been either forgotten or overlooked. With respect to the contents of the present little book, I shall truly rejoice if its pious readers
“ Own not ill discharged my double debt,