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St. Mark's Gospel.








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OTWITHSTANDING the many advantages of


education which candidates for Orders enjoy, there are some points of their professional instruction which make no part of an Academical course. The young clergyman is generally called on to commence a full course of ministerial duty, qualified indeed with a competency of learning, but without that gradual practical training, by which men of all other professions are initiated into the business of their respective callings. Clients are slow in trusting the inexperienced barrister; and the young physician's practice is limited for many years to a small number of patients; but the young minister of the Gospel is, for the most part, summoned from the abstract pursuits of a college life, to enter at once on the new and untried routine of parochial visiting, of aiding or guiding religious and charitable movements, of preaching and catechising.

The following Readings from St. Mark's Gospel have been prepared with the hope of lessening some of this difficulty-that, viz., which arises from want of practice in composing Sermons, expounding Scripture,

conversing on religious topics with the uneducated; in short, 'dividing' or dispensing the word of God.'

The acquirement of this qualification is quite distinct from the acquirement of religious knowledge. A man may be very well informed, and still be at a loss to make a ready and effectual use of what he knows. Among the otherwise well educated clergy, accordingly, there are not a few who have recourse to published Sermons. Still more must this be the case of those who have not had the same advantages of education. It is often the only resource they have; and in employing it, they are not unfrequently led to suppose, (agreeably to the maxim so injudiciously inculcated by Addison,*) that it is a proof of modesty to preach sermons which have received the approbation of good judges, rather than their own crude essays. An indolent habit steals insensibly on the preacher. Occupied perhaps with much distracting business, he feels less and less disposed to apply himself to the task of habitually preaching and lecturing from his own stores; and his addresses consequently, in and out of the pulpit, never attain that forcible character, which can only be given by the genuine expression of one's own feelings and convictions.

My first object, then, in the following publication,

*Spectator, No. 106.

has been to provide a manual for catechists, and young clergymen generally, who may be experiencing the difficulty I have noticed, I have been desirous of putting into their hands a book, from which they may supply themselves, not with the sermons of another, but with materials which may be readily worked up into sermons of their own; and-what is of more permanent consequence-may lead them on to the early practice of depending on themselves.

With this main object in view, others have occurred to me, as admitting of being combined.

Laymen as well as clergymen are sometimes required to perform a simple act of kindness or duty-that of reading the Bible to the sick, the aged, or the ignorant. This work of charity is made more effectual for good, if the reader, as he proceeds, can offer some explanatory remarks, or some brief application of Scripture. The Catechist's Manual may, it is hoped, be found useful for this purpose.

Other occasions there are, too, in which this assistance may prove acceptable. Masters and heads. of families not unfrequently combine religious instruction with daily family worship. And rightly. A passage read from the Bible is an essential part of the religious exercises of a family; and no occasion can be more suitable than this, for introducing any remarks which may serve to explain the meaning of

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