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' HE, that has the happy talent of parlourpreaching,” says Dr. Watts*, “ has sometimes done more for Christ and souls in the space of a few minutes, than by the labour of many hours and days in the usual course of preaching in the pulpit.”
On my first intercourse with Mr. Cecil, now upward of fifteen years since when in the full vigour of his mind, I was so struck with the wisdom and originality of his remarks, that I considered it my duty to record what seemed to me most likely to be useful to others.
It should be observed that Mr. Cecil is made to speak often of himself; and, to persons who do not consider the circumstances of the case, there may appear much egotism in the quantity of such remarks
• An Humble Attempt towards the Revival of Religion. Part. I. Sect. 4.
here put together, and in the manner in which his things are said: but this will be treating him with the most flagrant injustice; for it must be remembered that the remarks of this nature were chiefly made by him, from time to time, in answer to my particular enquiries into his judgment and habits on certain points of doctrine or practice.
I have laboured in recording those sentiments which I have gathered from him in conversation, to preserve as much as possible his very expressions; and they who were familiar with his manner will be able to judge, in general, how far I have succeeded: but I would explicitly disavow an exact verbal responsibility. For the sentiments I make myself answerable.
In some instances I have brought together observations made at different times: the reader is not therefore to understand that the thoughts here collected on any subject always followed in immediate connection.
CONVERSATION WITH THE EDITOR,
DISCUSSIONS WHEN HE WAS PRESENT.
“ Multa ab eo prudenter disputata, multa etiam breviter et commodè dicta meinoriæ mandabam, fierique studebam ejus prudentiâ doctior.
Cic. de Amicit. I.
THE direct cause of a Christian's spiritual life, is, Union with Christ. All attention to the mere circumstantials of religion, has a tendency to draw the soul away from this union, Few men, except ministers, are called, by the nature of their station, to enter much into these circumstantials :such, for instance, as the evidences of the truth of religion. Ministers feel this deadening effect of any considerable or continued attention to externals: much more must private Christians. The head may
strengthened, till the heart is starved. Some private Christians, however, may be called on by the nature of those circles in which they move, to be qualified to meet and refute the objections which may be urged against religion. Such men, as well as ministers, while they are furnishing themselves for this purpose, must acquiesce in the work which God appoints for them,