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IN submitting this volume to publick inspection, my motives appear in the body of the discourses, and to them the reader is referred, instead of being solicited to wade through a tedious preamble. Had I consulted mere literary reputation, their publication would have been delayed. My parochial and academical duties have made such large demands upon my time, that to the composition of each discourse, I was unable to devote more than the labour of a single day, and the whole have been committed to the press with no alterations, and very few additions. I do not present them as faultless specimens of style. In this aspect, neither do I challenge the severity of criticism, nor do I deprecate it. As no man is compelled to become an author, if he will write, let him be prepared to meet the consequences. It is better, that he should receive a little whole. some chastisement, than that his works should contribute in any degree to vitiate the publick taste. The writer makes no humiliating appeals to the sympathy or forbearance of reader or critick.
It was at the suggestion of a highly valued friend, that the sermons upon the Church were prepared, and their delivery was accompanied with repeated requests for publication. I have complied. With what judgment, time will show. It has not been with reluctance. A mind, unstable as water, may well sit down and count the cost, attending the utterance of dubious speculations; but he must be the veriest coward, who is afraid to preach and to publish what he solemnly believes to be true, Jest, for combating the errours, he should be obliged to endure the censures, of the many. I know not, that the present discourses will be deemed worthy of a reply. Care however has been taken to notify me, in a formal manner, that such was the intention. Be it so. When a temperate answer appears, I hope to embark in the subsequent discussion with benevolent and charitable feelings. I know, that I shall do it, in all the confidence of a certain faith, that the leading facts and arguments, presented in this volume, are utterly incapable of being refuted. Every thing
plausible, that can be alleged in opposition, is perfectly familiar to my mind, and I have no difficulty in pledging myself to its exposure, wherever reason is permitted to triumph over prejudice, and religion over party. I only ask of my worthy Christian brethren of other denominations; those, whom I esteem for their piety, I only ask, that they raise not the shout of victory, until the battle is won.
The miscellaneous discourses have been selected in haste, from a large number written at different periods. I am apprehensive, that the choice of subjects may not have been as judicious as my friends could wish; but such as they are, let them be considered the humble offering of my head and heart in the glorious cause of Christ. If a favourable opinion should be formed of them, by the publick, they will, with the divine permission, be followed by others, embracing more extended views of Christian faith and practice.
LEXINGTON, Oct. 29, 1828.
Acts xxvi. 8.—Why should it be thought a thing incredible
ACT$ xvii. 11.–These were more noble than those in Thes
salonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so.
REVELATION ii. 4.—Nevertheless I have somewhat against
Amos vi. 1.-W3 to them that are at ease in Zion.
MATTHEW xi. 28.—Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.
2 Timothy iii. 4.--Lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God.
JAMES ii. 19, 20.- Thou believest that there is one God; thou
doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble. But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead?
REVELATION xiv. 11.--And the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever.