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appear to that advantage which his published works do; yet, in their present state, they will not fail to filiate themselves, and will reflect but little, if any more discredit on the mind, the heart, and the principles, of their author, than those which he himself published.
His work on the atonement will appear to the greatest disadvantage, owing, not to any defect in the matter itself, but to the incomplete form in which the work was left. The author seems to have been unsettled in his mind, whether to publish it in the form of a correspondence, or in a series of consecutive essays; and while he was in this state of oscillation on the subject, his last affliction occurred, which rendered him utterly incapable of putting a finishing hand to it. But with this exception to the form in which it was left, and to the circumstance that the author did not live to complete his work, the writer considers this as one of his best and most important works.
As to his entire sermons, they are now presented to the public just as he himself had published them. But with regard to his outlines, or sketches of sermons, though they bear the strong impress of his master mind, yet would they have been wholly unfit to meet the public eye, and useless to the generality of his readers, had not the editor taken the liberty of inserting appropriate introductory remarks, and connecting links to all of them. Such prefatory and connecting matter, Mr. Isaac always had in his own mind, and therefore would neither waste his time in writing at large his pulpit exercises, and then in committing to memory what he had written, as is the case with but too many of our popular ministers ; nor yet would he dare by such a mode of proceeding to shut out the aids of God's Holy Spirit from his pulpit labours, through a rigid adherence to what he had thus committed to paper and to memory. He sought to approve himself to his divine Master, by endeavouring to win and edify the souls of men, rather than to gain the plaudits of his hearers for the music of his periods and the brilliancy of his compositions. Hence his outlines were little more than so many strings of catch-words, intended as hints to the
which should leave the mind at liberty to follow the inspiration of his theme, and to pour forth the riches of his conceptions and feelings under the unction of the Holy One.
With these explanations and remarks, the editor presents the first volume of these works to the public, not without fear, lest, by any means, however unintentionally, the character of Mr. Isaac, or the useful tendency of his works, should suffer in passing through his hands; and most gladly would he have committed this work to some one more competent to it than himself, had he been permitted to do so; but this not being allowed, all that he can say is, that hitherto he has done his very best to secure the pleasure and profit of the reader, and the .credit and benevolent purpose of his author.
York, June 25, 1840.
N.B. Should the sketches of sermons give general satisfaction, and more of a similar kind be desired, an intimation to that effect from the mass of the purchasers of the works, by letters (post-paid) to either the printer or the editor, will be attended to as far as it shall be practicable.