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WALTER SCOTT, 14 PATERNOSTER SQUARE,

AND NEWCASTLE-ON-TYNE.

210

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PREFACE.

EVERAL years ago an ably-written article appeared in the British Quarterly Review on "The Priesthood of Letters," in which the writer endeavoured to show that, as an agency for Christian instruction, the Press was taking the place of the Pulpit, and that the author, rather than the preacher, was destined to be the prophet and high-priest of the future. Ever since. the appearance of Dr. Vaughan's essay there have not been wanting persons to quote his authority in the maintenance of his views. Indeed, of late years we have heard more than enough about the decay of the pulpit-the decline of preaching power-the lessening influence of Christian teaching on the age. In most cases the advocates of these opinions write and speak in ignorance of the facts; and it is to be feared that in too many instances the wish is father to the thought.

To all these utterances it may be replied-and the reply is their refutation-that there never was an age in which there were so many preachers of the gospel-in which there

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