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THE REV. H. SCOUGAL,
A. M. S. T. P.
THE LIFE OF GOD IN THE SOUL OF MAN;
Nine other Discourses
ON IMPORTANT SUBJECTS.
TO WHICH IS ADDED,
PREACHED AT THE AUTHOR'S FUNERAL,
Perfectionis ac felicitatis summum est uniri Deo.
STEREOTYPED FROM THE LAST LONDON EDITION,
Peirce and Williams.
NOTICE FOR THE AMERICAN EDITION.
AMONG those who have been ripened early for usefulness, and after being eminently useful, have been early removed to the rest that remaineth for the people of God,' few have been more celebrated for a lovely, unobtrusive piety than ScoUGAL. Bishop Burnet, with a name high in public esteem, and engagements numerous and important in public life, did not deem it unworthy of his station and character to become a warm eulogist of the young author, and of that work of his, which was published in his lifetime. This, his main work, and which has gained him most reputation, The life of God in the soul of man,' has been the delight of the pious for a century and a half. It cannot be necessary to repeat the praises bestowed on it-for its simplicity, fervor, method of arrangement, and exhibition of the genuine amiableness of religion. That its publication is seasonable at the present time, in order to direct the attention of its readers from subjects of doubtful disputation to the diligent keeping of the heart, no self-observer can question. It has, indeed, been reprinted often-but, so far as the writer of this brief notice is informed, never accompanied in America with the Sermons of the author. These, and the discourse delivered on his death, with a preface by a former editor, can hardly fail to render the present edition acceptable to the friends of true piety in America.
Boston, May 6, 1829.
MR. HENRY SCOUGAL, the worthy author of the following book, was born about the end of June, in the year 1650.
His father, Mr. Patrick Scougal, was sometime minister at Salton, and afterwards Bishop of Aberdeen; in which See he sat above twenty years from the Restoration. He was married to Margaret Wemyss, daughter to a gentleman in Fife, by whom he had three sons and two daughters. John Scougal, the eldest son, became Commissary of Aberdeen. Our author was the second. The youngest son, James, upon his eldest brother's death, succeeded him in the commissariat; which post he sold to Mr. Robert Paterson, father to the late Commissary of Aberdeen. He then went to Edinburgh; where he was made one of the senators of the College of Justice, by the title of Lord Whitehill. Catharine Scougal, the elder daughter, married Alexander Scrogie, Bishop of Argyle; and Jane, the younger, became spouse to Mr. Patrick Sibbald, one of the ministers of Aberdeen.
But to return to our author. From his childhood, he made uncommon progress in divine, as well as human learning. At the age of fifteen, he went to the University; where he finished his courses in four years' time: and scarce had he ceased to be a pupil, when he became a Professor. Having adorned this character four years, the more immediate service of God in his church, required him to enter into holy orders; and he was soon after settled at Auchterless, a small village about twenty miles from Aberdeen. Here he had preached the gospel but the space of one year, when he was called to Aberdeen, and promoted to the Professorship of Divinity, in King's College there, though yet no more than four and twenty. This important function he discharged with the highest honour, till about his twenty
seventh year, that he fell into a consumption, which wasted him, by slow degrees, and, at last, put an end to his valuable life, on the 13th of June, 1678, before he had completed the twenty-eighth year of his age. He was buried in King's College church, Old Aberdeen, and the following inscription was put upon his tombstone:
REVERENDI IN CHRISTO PATRIS PATRICII EPISCOPI
PHILOSOPHIE IN HAC ACADEMIA REGIA,
PER QUADRIENNIUM, TOTIDEMQUE ANNIS
ECCLESIÆ IN AUCHTERLESS, UNO ANNO INTERSTITE,
MULTA IN TAM BREVISSIMO CURRICULO
DIDICIT, PRÆSTITIT, DOCUIT,
CŒLI AVIDUS, ET CELO MATURUS,
ET HIC EXUVIAS MORTALITATIS POSUIT.
For a more particular account of our author's life and character, we refer the reader to the sermon preached at his funeral, by Dr. George Gairden, which was first published, from an authentic manuscript, by the Reverend Mr. Cockburn, sometime minister of St. Paul's at Aberdeen, and which we have here subjoined to Mr. Scougal's dis-!
Besides the works now published, our author left behind him some occasional reflections, and moral essays, which had been the exercises of his retired moments, while but a student at the University; as, also, three manuscript tracts in Latin, viz: A short System of Ethics, or Moral Philosophy; a Preservative against the Artifices of the Roman Missiona ries; and a Treatise of the Pastoral Care: the last unfinished.
The works of this excellent author have too well recommended themselves, to need any new encomiums. It can, however, be no improper preface to this edition, (which we hope will be found a correct one,) to present the reader with the accounts of the following discourses, which the reverend and learned men who formerly published them, have prefixed to their respective editions.
The sermons were first collected, and made public, by the above Mr. Cockburn; who tells us "he was encouraged to it, by some persons no less eminent for their piety and virtue, than for their birth and quality. I have endeavoured," says he, " to give them as correct as possible; though some of the manuscripts I was obliged to make use of, had not been transcribed with that care and exactness they ought. It cannot be expected," continues he, "that these discourses, which were never designed by the author for the press, can appear with the same advantage as the Treatise," (meaning The Life of God in the Soul of Man) "which, at the persuasion of his friends, was published in his lifetime; yet, as they retain the same spirit and genius, and give the same clear and persuasive notions of religion, it is hoped they will be favourably received, as well as that they may be very profitable to the candid and serious reader."
But now, to come to our author's noblest and most perfect work, The Life of God in the Soul of Man. This discourse was first published about the year 1677, in the author's life-time, by the Reverend Dr. Burnett, afterwards bishop of Sarum, who introduced it into the world with the following account: "It was written by a pious and learned countryman of mine, for the private use of a noble friend of the author's, without the least design of making it more public. Others seeing it, were much taken both with the excellent purposes it contained, and the great clearness and pleasantness of the style; the natural method, and the shortness of it; and desired it might be made a more public good: and knowing some interest I had with the author, it was referred to me whether it should lie in a private closet, or be let go abroad. I was not long in suspense, having read it over; and knowing that the author had written out nothing here, but what he himself did well feel and know: and therefore, it being a transcript of those divine impressions that are upon his own heart, I hope the native and unforced genuineness of it, will both delight and edify the reader.”