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The Lord seems to have blessed a former series of Meditations which I published. I have received requests from different quarters to print another. For a long time, I was prevented by the physical impossibility of writing much, but the Lord has lately removed that obstacle by sending me a brother who had taken down copious notes of some of my pastoral addresses, from which I have drawn up the Meditations contained in this volume, dietating them to another person who has had the kindness to lend me his friendly hand. Thus the cloud having been taken up (Num. ix. 21), I thought it my duty to obey the command of the Lord, and to proceed.
It is well, perhaps, for the reader to bear in mind that these Meditations have been preached, that he may not be surprised at some familiar expressions, or detailed applications, which naturally occurred in addressing a small congregation, of which I am the stated minister, and with which I am intimately connected,
Many will, perhaps, think that I have spoken too largely of certain inward conflicts through which all believers are not called to pass; that I have been too often occupied in consoling and raising up the weak. They will think that I ought rather to have treated of the joys and privileges of the Christain, and of the happiness of close communion with Christ. To this I shall answer, first, That I have been guided by my subject; 2dly, That what does not suit some minds may suit others, that we are commanded to “comfort the feeble-minded” (1 Thess. v. 14), and that he who is strong and rejoicing, ought to be glad that a helping hand is streched out to his weak or sorrowful brother; and who knows whether he will not himself be happy, one day, to
find at hand the word of consolation which he needs not now? “Let not him that girdeth on his armour boast himself as he that putteth it off.” Lastly, in treating largely of the inward conflicts of souls vehemently assaulted by the adversary, and which require to be preserved from despondency, I have been really myself ; for have spoken of what I have seen with my eyes and what my hands have handled. Now I think that every one, in order to be sincere, and to have the blessing of God upon his labours, ought to continue himself, and that the preaching of every minister to be natural, ought to be characterized by the tinge of his own hidden life. Let those who habitually walk along an easy path by the side of still waters, describe in their preaching the Christian's joys and triumphs: they do well; that is the gift bestowed upon them; let them praise the Lord for it, and keep themselves humble. As for me, since I know the spiritual life more in its conflicts than in its enjoyments, and may call myself with Jeremiah, in a certain sense, “a man of contentions," I should have been guilty of deception had I sought to give a different shade to my meditations. The ways through which it has pleased the Lord, always wise, and just, and good, to cause me to pass, have fitted me to unfold to others the deceitfulness of the heart and the devices of Satan, and also to point out to weak souls some of the lowest branches of the Tree of Life, which graciously hang down near the ground to meet the hand of those who are at the lowest grade of spirituality. This is the gift allotted to me; I must not turn aside from it for fear of boasting in that which is beyond my measure.
May the Lord, who distributes to each his gifts according to his own will, be pleased to bless those meditations with that blessing which is suitable to them. If by his grace they comfort any of those precious souls which are under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, or enlighten them respecting their own hearts, let all the glory be given to Him whose blessing alone it is that maketh rich ! I shall make of those who may receive any good by their means, the same request that I made in the preface of my former