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“ Using notes and spectacles, he is much confined in action ; but sometimes he throws aside his glasses, and breaks forth in tones and emotions of vehemence, especially near the end of his discourse. His accent very strongly marks his country, and, to strangers, renders his language not always intelligible; but by hearing him a few times the difficulty ceases.”
One of his friends has characterised his preaching as “more devotional than profound, more eloquent than controversial, and more energetic than critical.” He adds, that a remark made by Dr. Waugh on another minister furnishes a key to the secret of his own influence as a preacher and a public character. “They talk of eloquence,” he observed; "but (pointing to the individual) that is the most eloquent man I ever heard in London. He has so much of God about him, that he runs away with my heart. Few men can understand an abstract argument, but all men can feel the force of sincerity, earnestness, and benevolence, from the lips of the man of God; and the scepticism and insensibility of the human mind, which are proof against the most powerful reasonings, are often melted and subdued by the fervour of a pious, enlightened, and scriptural devotion.”
“ For many years,” says another friend, “he was a close student of the Word of God, and of the most approved works on theology and general literature: seldom venturing to the pulpit till after the most mature preparation, having both written his discourses, and committed them carefully to
memory. In process of time, however, he found it both unnecessary and impracticable to persevere in this rigid method of pulpit preparation. It was unnecessary; for his stores of information were rapidly accumulating, and his habits of communication were every day acquiring new facilities. It was impracticable ; for the great cause of missions had roused his benevolent mind, and he felt he must study less, and act more. From that time forward he never wrote out his sermons fully, but contented himself with a brief outline of the train of thought he intended to pursue, leaving the minute character of illustration to depend upon existing circumstances and feelings; and, above all, looking up for large supplies of that Divine Spirit who can suggest suitable thoughts to the minds of Christ's servants, and render these effectual to the edification of the church. We shall only add, that, in some of his extempore addresses, his first thoughts produced an effect upon the public mind which the most studied and accurate compositions might have failed to realise. Let all who would aim at Dr. Waugh's ultimate method of study, remember the process by which he arrived at it. Let them study as much, and as long as he did, and then their pulpit labours will neither be disgraced by meagre trains of thought, nor by a style of language mean and powerless."
From the period of his ordination at Newtown, in September 1780, he kept a memorandumbook, in which he most carefully marked every passage of Scripture from which he had preached,
with the date of time and place; and so accurately had he attended to this, that the very last text from which he had preached, in Albion Chapel, only a few days before his death, was found inserted by his own hand. From this book it appears that he was abundant in labours. He was accustomed, from the commencement of his ministry in Wells Street, as we have already noticed, with a few exceptions arising from indisposition and the infirmities of age, to officiate three times every Sabbath,-lecturing in the morning, and preaching in the afternoon and evening. In 1796 he began to give occasional lectures in Fetter Lane, which he continued till July 1827, having preached one hundred and twenty-two sermons. In May 1803 he commenced lecturing in Camomile Street on Sabbath morning, at seven o'clock, sleeping overnight at a friend's house in the city ; and continued to lecture till June 1827, having preached seventy sermons. On these occasions, he generally preached, as usual, three times at Wells Street; thus preaching four times on the Sabbath. His lectures at Crown Court commenced in 1802, and continued till 1826, during which time he preached there forty-four discourses. — The Rev. Dr. Winter has kindly favoured us with an account of these lectures, which will be gratifying to some of our readers : “ The lecture in Fetter Lane was conducted on Thursday evenings, on a variety of topics appointed by the preachers at the commencement of each year. It is now discontinued. It originated about sixty years ago, at Little Wild
Street; thence it was removed to New Court, Carey Street; and thence, many years since, to the Rev. George Burder's chapel, Fetter Lane. That in Camomile Street, now removed to New Broad Street, is a weekly service for eight months in the year, on a Lord's day morning, at seven o'clock. It was instituted in the memorable year 1688. In Crown Court there were two weekly lectures, the one on Sabbath evening, the other on Tuesday evening. The former was of long standing; the latter existed but a short time.”
Besides these stated labours, he was frequently called to preach on public occasions in almost every part of London and the neighbourhood; so that from 1802, when he had become generally known, it was very common for him to preach eighteen or twenty times during the month, including his ministrations at his own chapel. A friend, who has been at the pains to extract from his memorandum-book the number of his public discourses, finds that they amount to seven thousand seven hundred and six sermons and lectures, from his ordination in September 1780, to his death in 1827 ; averaging, by more than four hundred, three discourses on every Sabbath during that long period, though he had again and again, for considerable intervals, been disabled for all public labours : so fully did he exemplify his favourite aphorism, “ work on earth, rest in heaven.”*
* It is mentioned by a member of his family, that when, on account of the lectures at Camomile Street, &c. he had preached four times on the Sabbath, he was wont to return home in the The following communications respecting his ministerial services (the first received from a much-respected member of his Session, the other from one of his own family) will be interesting to our readers, by giving a short detail of the numerous and important labours in the congregation which occupied his attention, besides his regular public instructions from the pulpit.
“ His conduct in the Session, as moderator, manifested a constant desire to procure peace and unanimity, and an anxiety to avoid whatever might have a tendency for a moment to interrupt it, either among themselves, or in the congregation at large. And as no one knew better the constitution of man, and how to gain a desirable object, without hurting the feelings or giving offence, he succeeded in a way that often excited the admiration of his brethren.
“ In all their deliberations respecting the spiritual concerns of those committed to their charge, fidelity to the souls of his beloved flock was ever conspicuous. No vague report prejudicial to character was tolerated for a moment. But when truth and evidence brought the conduct of any into serious investigation, this produced feelings and expressions of the deepest
evening, though often much exhausted, in higher spirits than usual, from the consciousness of having been more fully employed in his Master's service; and, on the contrary, when, owing to indisposition or other necessary obstacle, he was prevented from preaching at least thrice, he was depressed with a feeling of not having fully performed his duty, and of being, as it were, “ but an unprofitable servant."