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in defence of forms of prayer, of the English Liturgy, and of certain rites in the service of that church. There are special lectures on those
parts of the service which include the Creed, the Lord's Prayer, the Ten Commandments, and the Sacraments. There are charges to the clergy, respecting the conduct of their temporalities, as well as of their spiritual vocation : And a series of controversial sermons against the errors of the Church of Rome. The public situation 'of the Archbishop obliged him to compose fermons on special occasions, which were preached before the House of Lords, the Lord Mayor of London, the Governors of Hospitals, and various Public Societies.
In all the discourses which he drew up as a public man, it is easy to discern the characters of moderation, good temper, and that moral fpirit, which was the favourite object to his own mind.
In forming a comparison of sermons according to their different species, it may be allowed, that those which are occasional, or which bear an immediate respect to times, circumstances, and events, are formed upon the foundest views of utility, respecting the audiences to which they are immediately addressed; and that discourses of this description are capable of being rendered highly interesting and instructive, even to readers, in other times, and in circumstances materially different. This cannot be doubted by any person who reflects upon the characters of fpeciality which abound in every part even of the
New Testament record. It must, however, be acknowledged, that it is a matter of extreme difficulty to give that perfection to occasional discourses which may render them generally interesting beyond the circumstances to which they immediately refer. And it
be added, that discourses which regard local customs, such as the rites or liturgy of a particular Christian fociety, or the temporalities of an ecclesiastical body, cannot, by any power of genius, be rendered important, in the view of men who are without that circle to which the subjects are limited.
Rites, forms of worship, ecclesiastical arrangements, together with the subordinate articles of theory in religion, are subject to the variations of local fashion. Orthodoxy in these things changes fides, as we pass the Tweed, the Rhine, or the Alps. Churches may fall; opinions may change; .controversies may cease; but eternal virtue remaineth, the unalterable character of the true universal church of Jesus Christ upon earth.
The works of Archbishop Secker, while they float on the stream of time, and descend to another generation, must owe their support to those fermons purely moral, and effentially Catholic, which were suggested by his own heart, and which were dictated by the genius of the man, rather than required from the primate in his official capacity.
UNDER these views, the new edition of Dr. Secker's works is tendered to the public, in a
different arrangement from that which was ao dopted by his Chaplains after his decease. The moral sermons, which appeared to the editors the most important in subject, and the most perfect in execution, have been selected, and form the first volume. Of this volume a larger impreffion has been prepared than of the rest; by which means,
it is to purchasers a matter of option, either to have the select moral fermons by themselves, in a single volume, or to have the whole works in four, at a much cheaper rate than they have ever been offered to the public.
The selection of the sermons for the first volume has been made by two clergymen of a national church; different from that of England; but who own, with impartial respect, the merits of those Pastors, who, in various communions, have laboured with succeís in the service of the One Great Master of the Christian World:
LIFE OF ARCHBISHOP SECKER.
Doctor THOMAS Secker was born in a small village, called Sibthorp, in Nottinghamshire, in the year 1693.
His father, a respectable Protestant Dissenter, lived on a finall paternal estate. His mother was the daughter of Mr George Brough, a gentleman farmer in the same county.
The intention of his father was, to qualify him for' becoming a Dissenting Clergyman, in consequence of which, he was educated in the most eminent schools and academies in that county, in one of which he became acquainted with Samuel Butler, afterwards Bishop of Durham, and contracted a strict friendship with him, which continued to the end of life.
But though he had made an uncommon proficiency in all the branches of literature, proper for his intended profession, yet, from a change of sentiment, not uncommon in that period of life, in the end of the 1716, he turned his views to the study of medicine. For this purpose he went to London, and attended the lectures of all the eminent teachers in the medical line there. To compleat his medical studies, in the went to Paris, where he attended the lectures of the most eminent professors of the art in that city. Here he first became acquainted with Mr. Martin Benson, afterwards Bishop of Gloucester.
His friend, Mr. Samuel Butler, had now taken orders, and, by his uncommon merit, acquired fome valuable friends, among others, Mr. Talbot, son of Bishop Talbot, through which interest, he obtained from the Bishop a promise of patronage to Mr. Secker, in case he would take orders in the Church of England. This prospect he communicated to Mr. Secker while he was at Paris, who, after some time taken in consideration, came over to England in the 1720.
Being introduced to Mr. Talbot, by his friend, he cultivated his acquaintance with attention, till Mr. Talbot's death, which happened foon af
Mr. Talbot left a widow and child, with whom lived Mrs. Catherine Benson, the Bishop's fifter, as a friend and companion.
To enable Mr. Secker, with the greater ease, to get a degree at Oxford, by the advice of his friends, he went, in the 1721, to Leyden, where