The Project Gutenberg eBook, Sermons by the late Rev. Richard de Courcy,by Richard de Courcy, Edited by Brian HillThis eBook is for the use of anyone anywhere in the United States and mostother parts of the world at no cost and with almost no restrictions whatsoever. You may copy it, give it away or re-use it under the terms ofthe Project Gutenberg License included with this eBook or online at www.gutenberg.org. If you are not located in the United States, you'll haveto check the laws of the country where you are located before using this ebook.Title: Sermons by the late Rev. Richard de CourcyAuthor: Richard de CourcyEditor: Brian HillRelease Date: June 25, 2018 [eBook #57397]Language: EnglishCharacter set encoding: ISO-646-US (US-ASCII)***START OF THE PROJECT GUTENBERG EBOOK SERMONS BY THE LATE REV. RICHARDDE COURCY***
Transcribed from the 1810 Mathews and Leigh edition by DavidPrice, email [email protected]
BY THE LATE
Rev. Richard De Courcy [i]
With anEssay on
Pure and Undefiled Religion
and a Preface by Rev. Brian Hill
Mathews and Leigh
THE PRESENT EDITOR.
The following Essay and Sermonswere published, by subscription, soon after the Author’sdeath, and were honored with as respectable a list ofsubscribers, as any work now extant. Mr. De Courcy was so worthy a man, sodistinguished a Christian, and so excellent a preacher, that weneed not wonder, that all who had the happiness of hisacquaintance, or enjoyed the benefit of his public ministry,wished to have, in their possession, some memorial of so valuablea friend. Mr. De C.’s views of the gospel were trulyevangelical, the Parishioners of Saint Alkmond enjoyed theunspeakable advantage of a faithful ministration of the word oflife; for, what he himself p. iv“tasted and felt, andhandled,” of the good word of God, the preacher, with muchzeal, affection and earnestness, recommended to others: thedevotions of the desk and the instructions of the pulpit were notat variance; but, the one explained, elucidated and enforced theother, wherever this great man officiated. The attention ofhearers, of all descriptions, was sure to be arrested, by theimportance of the doctrines on which he insisted, the clearnesswith which he defended them, and the fervor with which they wereenforced: his labors were abundantly blessed; and multitudes, wehope, will appear as his “crown of rejoicing,”another day.
When the present proprietors (who are also the publishers) ofthe work, first contemplated its republication, it was both theirwish and intention to gratify the religious public with a memoirof the Author, and arrangements were made for that purpose; but afriend of the deceased expressed a wish, that it might not becarried into execution: it is therefore withheld.
Happy would it be for the Christian Church, if all whoofficiate at her altars could “give as p. vfull proof oftheir ministry.” Mr. De. C. has not only ablyvindicated “the peculiar doctrines of the gospel,”but he has shown, in a very masterly manner, that those who claimto themselves the title of gospel-ministers, are the only personswho preach according to the 39 Articles, and that, instead ofbeing the enemies of the Establishment, are its onlyconsistent friends and its most able defenders. Having, “cordially and without mental reservation,equivocation or disguise,” signed the Articles, anddeclared his “assent and consent to all and every thingthey contain,” and being convinced, after the most seriousinvestigation and earnest prayer, that the doctrines of theChurch of England are the doctrines of the gospel, hewould have accused himself of hypocrisy and wickedness, had henot founded all his services upon those important truths, whichare found both in the Bible and the Prayer-book. And, it isasked, What churches are so well attended, as those in which thepure word of God is preached? What clergymen are so trulyexemplary in their conduct, as those who are termed“evangelical p.viministers? and, What congregations are so ready to everygood word and work,” as those who attend suchpreachers? Immoral, antichristian shepherds scatter theflock; the pious pastor, by his truly evangelical labors, keepsthem in the fold. When persons leave the EstablishedChurch, it is, in a great majority of instances, because theycannot receive there “the true bread of life,”and their souls hunger and thirst after that, which theycannot find, where they would otherwise willinglyattend. Let the established clergy preach the gospel, andthey will have no cause to complain of increasing Sectaries. [vi] Of the first edition, very fewcopies (more than were subscribed for) being printed, the presentpublishers presume that they are performing an office veryacceptable, to the religious public, in presenting them with anew edition of a volume of sermons possessing p. viieveryrecommendation which such a work can have. Here willbe found the purest doctrines expressed in the most eloquent andglowing language, and enforced with all the ardor of theChristian Minister. Feeling their immense importance, andbeing fully convinced that “the gospel is the power of Godunto salvation to every one who believes it,” Mr. De C.“has not shunned to declare the whole counsel ofGod;” he has preached the doctrines of the gospelpractically, and enforced its duties evangelically; he hasrescued the scripture-doctrines from the false imputation, that“the grace of God leads to licentiousness;” he hasdescribed Christian faith, not only in its nature, but in itseffects; he has shown, how the grace of God operates on theheart, and is productive of the peaceable fruits of holyobedience. If modern infidels possessed sufficient candor,to read the “Essay on Pure and Undefiled Religion,”they must be convinced, that the love of God and Jesus Christ isthe only source of purity of morals, that every species ofmorality which has not this p. viiifoundation, is superficial in itsnature and uncertain in its operation; while he has also shown,that the heart which is enlightened by the Spirit of God, andpurified by the Spirit of Christ, will be the seat of every holyand heavenly temper.
The present Editor, who is totally unconnected with the familyof the deceased, is far from thinking that Mr. De C.’sworks need any recommendation from him. They speakfor themselves; they need only to be known in order to beadmired; for they will always be read with both pleasure andprofit, so long as evangelical piety, fervent devotion andgenuine godliness, have any charms in the estimation of theservants of Christ.
London, May, 1810.
p.ixPREFACE TO THE FIRST EDITION.
The following discourses, whichwere found among the manuscripts of the Author after his decease,will, no doubt, be extremely acceptable to those, who have beenaccustomed to hear the word of truth from his lips, and who,engaged by his eloquence, and won by his entreaties, have,through the influence of divine grace, which he never failed toinculcate as the source of all holy desires, dedicated themselvesto God through Jesus Christ, and become wise unto salvation.
As the copies were written delicately fair, and with wonderfulaccuracy, no pains were requisite to decipher, no labor waswanted to correct them; so that the reader has, in this volume,the genuine works of him, whose name it bears; [ix] and, whatever he may think of p. xthe doctrineswhich it contains, I am much mistaken, if he will not be struckwith admiration at the fertility of imagination, the force ofargument, and the uncommon elegance of language, which are hereindisplayed. But, let him take heed, that his attention benot too much engaged by the gay flowers of oratory; let himcompare what he here finds written with the scriptures of truth,and let him not be in haste, either to censure or approve, till acompetent share of divine knowledge, and a thorough acquaintancewith the work itself, enable him to decide, with some appearanceof justice, on its merits.
I feel the more inclined to recommend this advice, from theimpression, which a cursory view of the followingdiscourses made upon my mind; for, wishing to pay all possiblerespect to the memory of my deceased friend, no sooner was theidea of a publication suggested, than I volunteered my servicesto carry it through all its stages, not thinking, at the moment,of any difficulties, which might occur in the accomplishment ofthe design. Not many hours, I believe, elapsed, before Ibegan to consider, that some degree of responsibility attached tome as an Editor, and that I was bound not to make known to theworld any sentiments, of which I did not thoroughly approve; atleast, not without offering an antidote for the evil, p. xiwhich theymight occasion. Under this persuasion, though extremelyreluctant to obtrude myself on the public notice, or to provokecontroversy from the Author’s admirers, I sat down with thedetermination not to let a sentence pass unregarded, which I didnot conceive to be strictly conformable to the word of God. Accordingly, when I had perused a few discourses I wrotemy animadversions freely; but when I had read and consideredall with more minute attention, I found that several of myobjections were levelled against words and phrases,and that, though I choose to express myself upon some pointsdifferently from the Author, we were perfectly agreed in theprincipal doctrines of the Christian dispensation. Thisbeing the case, I have thought it sufficient to refer the readerto his Bible, the standard of truth and orthodoxy; andthough, among the variety of opinions which distract theChristian world, he may conceive it to be almost impossible tofind the road to glory, yet I will venture to assure him, theword of Christ authorizing me to do so, if his eye be singlehis whole body shall be full of light; Mat. vi. 22; i.e. heshall be able clearly to discern the way of salvation; for theSun of Righteousness shall dispel the mists of error, andgradually diffusing his beams over the soul, shall shine more andmore, even to the full splendor of the perfect day.
p. xiiAs Ifirmly believe, that the following discourses, read with candorand attention, are likely to be productive of much good, I shallhere take the liberty of obviating the objections, which may bemade to one point of doctrine, which forms a prominent feature inthe whole. I allude to the justification of a sinner by theimputed righteousness of Jesus Christ. Thisdoctrine, as it is expressed in one or two passages, might inducea hasty reader to throw aside the book, and condemn itseverely as leading to licentiousness. But, I can assurehim, that the late Vicar of Saint Alkmond admitted no suchconsequences; and I only request him to read attentively all thediscourses in this volume, and he will be convinced that what hasbeen written upon that subject is neither designed to set asidethe necessity of self-examination, nor of personalholiness. As a proof of the former, I beg leave to referhim more particularly to Sermon VI. p. 240; and of thelatter, to the whole of Sermon II. upon the dedication of theheart to God; in which, as well as in several others, he willfind the most forcible exhortations to maintain purity of heart,and to abound in the practice of every good work; insomuch, thatif he should take occasion, from any thing here written, to sin,that grace may abound, let him recollect, that he will meet theAuthor before the judgment-seat of Christ, where p. xiiihe mustrender an account for his perversion and want of candor, as wellas for all his other crimes.
But not only upon this, but also upon other subjects handledin these discourses, there have been, and still are, greatdiversities of sentiment among divines, not merely among such asare skilful in controversy, and void of the spirit of heavenlylove, but among others, who are warmly attached to the cause ofChrist, who labor much in the word and doctrine, and whose piety,humility, and other graces, evidently prove that they are bornfrom above, and live under the continued influence of the spiritof holiness. These, conceiving the several systems, whichthey have embraced, to be most conducive to the glory of God, setthem forth with all the eloquence and argument of which they arecapable; and sometimes, it must be confessed, in their zeal todefend the truth, forget the candor, which is due to persons, whoare equally zealous with themselves, and who may, perhaps, have alarger share of that divine love, which forms the best Christian,though he may be far from