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The Rev'd. James M'Chord, the author of the follow. ing sermons, was born in Baltimore, state of Maryland, 29th March, 1785, and was carried by his father and mother into Kentucky while he was only a child. During the years 1800 and 1801 he was introduced into an acquaintance with the Latin and Greek classics by Mr. E. Sharpe, who at that time was the master of a flourishing school, called “the Lexington Academy;" and in 1802 he attended the scientific course in Transylvania University.
In November, 1805, he entered the Theological Seminary at New-York, under the care of the Rev'd. J. M. Ma
He continued there until May, 1809; when he returned to Kentucky, and was licensed by the AssociateReformed Presbytery of Ky, at Lexington, 30 November following. He was ordained “Sine Titulo" by the same Presbytery, at Millersburgh, 18th April, 1811.
On Sabbath, July 30th, 1815, he opened the MarketStreet Church, which had been built for the purpose of securing his services to Lexington and its vicinity. His text was, “And he said it is a light thing that thou shouldest be my servant, to raise up the tribes of Jacob, and to restore the preserved of Israel; I will also give thee for a light to the Gentiles, that thou mayest be my salvation unto the end of the earth.” Isaiah xlix. 6. The afternoon's discourse was by a friend, from—"Unto me, who am less than the least of all saints, is this grace given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ." Eph. iii. 8.
In Nov. 1819, he moved to Paris, Bourbon county; and in April following was moved back again to the vicinity of Lexington, where he died, 29th of May, 1820, at the house of his father-in-law, D. Logan, Esq. His remains were deposited under the front of the church in MarketStreet, and a marble slab in the back of the pulpit records the fact, with this motto—“The resurrection of the just shall unfold his character."
His last appearance
in Market Street Church was on Sabbath, February 6th, 1820. His text was, “With God is terrible majesty. Touching the Almighty, we cannot find him out: he is excellent in power, and in judgment, and in plenty of justice: he will not afflict.” Job xxxvii. 22, 23.
He was to have returned that day three weeks to dispense the Lord's Supper;-but his course was finished.He never travelled more, and preached only a few times
His last discourse was delivered in the Methodist Church in Paris.
It has been supposed by some of his friends that there is enough of important matter connected with the few years of his public service to make a volume of considerable interest. But whether ever that matter can be so arranged as to be worthy of the public eye, is at present altogether uncertain.
The discourses now offered to the public have been selected with some care from the inanuscripts which he left behind him. Of their literary merits the editors presume not to go into any detail. They are, however, confident that, uuder all the disadvantages of a posthumous publication, they will be found to contain the stamina, and to have a considerable share of the polish, of compositions of the first order.
The two first in the volume were the last which he wrote, and are the only two of wliich any thing like a copy has been found, of eight or nine which he delivered on the Divine perfections. The two last were among
the first which he preached, and the one exhibits what were his views at that time of the general state of the churches among whom he was to labour as a travelling preacher, and the other holds up an example to be followed by all churches who in the day of severe trial would wish to be faithful to their risen and exalted Head.
In the 18th discourse, page 285, there is reference to a visitation of Providence which is still fresh in the memory of most of us. On Sabbath, July 20, 1817, in a most tremendous thunder storm, the lightning struck the 1st Presbyterian Church, and two worthy ladies were taken to licaven in the manner described. The one was an aged mother in Israel, and was a widow. The other was a inarried lady, in the prime of life, and had just before the service commenced intimated to her pastor her desire of being admitted to the communion, which was to be on the following Sabbath. The congregation had just commenced singing, and were finishing the first couplet of the 103d Hymn, Book 2d.
“Come, happy souls, approach your God
With new melodious songs;
The tribute of your tongues." The ardent piety—the stern integrity-and the deep concern for the salvation of immortal beings, which run through the whole of these discourses, must, we think, be seen; and the force with which these feelings are expressed must, we think, be felt, more or less, by every reader. May God, who only can speak to the heart, and who only can change the heart, grant—that while the understanding is in some degree enlightened, the heart may also be led to embrace and to rest upon the proffered mercy,
By those particularly who knew the author, and by those who occasionally, or who frequently heard him proclaim the great salvation, this volume ought to be considered as a “Voice from the Tombs.” To have known the author, and to have been: his friend and companion in his tribulatious, will not avail us much, unless we also know his Master, and be the friend and servant of his Master, and be his brother and companion in the kingdom and patience of Jesus Christ.
Gospel Hearer,—The author of the volume now before you was during sixteen years of the best part of his life entirely devoted to the great work of the ministry. Five of these were passed in preparatory studies, being added to four years study which he had passed before he had fully determined to what particular profession his life was to be devoted; and eleven of them were spent in actual service. Hence, though at the time these discourses were written their composition was to him an easy task, and some of them probably were the result of a single sitting
-yet they are in fact the result of years of hard study, the result of much reading and of much thinking, and of several fatiguing journeys--and the matter contained in them, and the faculty of expressing that matter in the manner in which it is expressed, were in fact procured by the author at the expense of his life, and at the expense of upwards of two thousand dollars, furnished him at different times by an affectionate father. Nor does he this day repent-nor did he ever even on earth, under all the discouragements under which he was called to labour, repent of having spent his patrimony and the vigour of his animal spirits in this service. "God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son that whosoever believeth on him should not perish, but have everlasting life." He personally knew the value of this gift, and all that he had at command was too little to express the sense which he had of his obligations to infinite love. He knew also that all must perish who do not believe on the Son of God, and that the ordinance of the gospel ministry was God's great ordinance for leading lost and perishing men to the Saviour of the world. He therefore considered no sacrifice and no labour too great when the question was, “Shall immortal souls he saved or perish ?”
Gospel Hearer, whosoever thou art-Accept for thyself the proffered salvation, and thy joy and thy reward shall be of the same kind with his.
R. H. BISHOP,
JOHN M.FARLAND. February, 1822.
Behold the heaven, and the heaven of heavens, cannot contain thee.
1 Kings viii. 27.
"BLESSED is the nation whose God is Jehovah; and the people whom he hath chosen for his own inheritance." It was amid one of the most lofty and rapturous strains rę, corded in the book of God, that the father of this Solomon, whose granduer and piety you were a moment ago contemplating, introduced the sentiment we have just repeated.
With the magnificent and awful character of the Deity your minds have never become so perfectly familiarized as to note the exhibition of it without a strong emotion. You can enter fully into the feelings of the psalmist when he bursts upon you with thrilling delineations of the Most High, in all his magnificence, and purity, and tenderness. You can lift up your response to the voice of adoration, when he celebrates the might of his wonder-working arm, and descants upon the mercies of his all-pervading providence. But you are at a loss to conceive how it should swell the song of triumph, when to delineations like the following, he adds the sentence with which we saluted you: "By the word of the Lord were the heavens made, and all the host of them by the breath of his mouth. He