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the intention of them will be in fome meafure answered. This agreeable profpect has much alleviated the trouble I have been at in reviewing, correcting and tranfcribing them; which would otherwife have been a tedious labor to me, especially in fo cold and fevere a feason. But if they are only a quarter part fo useful to you as I pray GoD to make them, I fhall be very amply rewarded.

IN compofing them, I must own, I had no other fermons in view as a model; which may, perhaps, be one reason that they are no better. They were written intirely from the fcriptures, and from my own heart; of the latter of which at least, they are a true, tho' imperfect representation. Least of all had I in view as a model, either the fermons of any bigotted devotees to particular fyftems of religion, diftinct from the general and glorious one of the gospel ; or fuch cold, uninteresting discourses as hit the frivolous taste of those, who value fermons only for an imaginary delicacy of fentiment and expreffion, without folidity, without force or energy; without entering into the spirit and importance of religion. I do not think mine the worse, for not being imitations of fuch as either of these. The

The former are my averfion, as the illiberal productions of flaves, who defire to tyrannize over other mens confciences: The latter my contempt, as the fuperficial, infipid, empty harangues of vain men; which do not deferve the name of fermons. If discourses from the pulpit are adapted only to please the ear and the fancy, like many of the modern fashionable ones; instead of having a direct tendency to alarm the confcience of a finner, to warm the heart of a faint, or to enlighten the understandings of any; they ferve, in my opinion, to no better purposes, than those of unfeasonably amufing the hearers, difgrac ing the places in which, and the perfons by whom they are delivered, as frivolous, conceited declaimers; who feek only the applaufe of men, by their founding brafs and tinkling cymbals; instead of defigning to do good, by manifestation of the truth, and commending themselves to every man's confcience in the fight of GOD. I must own, I should be a little mortified, as well as greatly disappointed, if any perfons who are charmed with fuch lullabies and opiates to the conscience from the pulpit, fhould think the following difcourfes in any mea fure tolerable.

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THE subject is handled in such a manner as to give you a general, comprehenfive idea of true religion, with its advantages and importance: I mean, of Chriftianity, according to my own conceptions of it. The scheme or plan of the fermons is very extenfive: It opens a wide field, almost boundless on every fide, and prefenting numberless objects to the view. Whoever looks over the contents of them, will fee that they are not deficient in point of variety, whatever other faults they may be justly charged with. But, in this way of treating the fubject, it was impoffible to handle any particular doctrine or precept of the gofpel fully, or with accuracy and precision. Had I pretended to handle the various branches of religion here touched upon, in this manner, each fermon would have fwelled to a folio; and they must have employed more years than I was days, in compofing and preaching them.

THE general defign of them, viz. to inftruct the YOUNG, and, by the blessing of GOD, to form their minds to the love and practice of true religion, cannot but be approved by all wife and good men; how much foever I have failed in the method,



or execution. The inftruction of the YOUNG, in order to their being well principled, and acting a proper part in life, is a thing of the utmost importance to themselves and to fociety. This has, accordingly, been a favourite, a principal object with fome of the wifeft men, in their respective ages and countries. Three fuch persons in particular, at once present themselves to my mind; SOLOMON, SOCRATES and CICERO.

THE first of these, SOLOMON among the JEWS, had a very particular attention to the YOUNG, in his invaluable writings; a treasure more to be prized than millions of gold and filver. He himself informs us, and it is obvious from the most curfory view of them, that their more immediate and fpecial design was, "to give to the YOUNG MAN knowledge and understanding."

The fecond, SOCRATES, fo renowned a mong the GREEKSs for his wisdom and virtue, is also known to have devoted his time and great talents, chiefly to the inftruction of YOUNG MEN. Tho' he left nothing in writing, which is come down to us; yet authentic history gives us this account of him: And the dialogues of PLATO, his learned disciple, in which the fentiments

fentiments and difcourfes of SOCRATES are represented, clearly evince the fame thing. He was, however, in that fuperftitious, corrupt and idolatrous, tho' polite age, accufed, tried and condemned as a perverter of the YOUTH of ATHENS; more particularly, as it is faid, because he taught them the UNITY of GOD; ridiculing polytheism,with the numberless fuperftitions &follies which time, ignorance and prejudice had confecrated, as the facred myfteries of religion; i. e. in other words, he was confidered as an impious heretic and blafphemer. This it was, that enraged the priests, the politicians, and even the poets of ATHENS, against that extraordinary perfon; and finally brought him, as a martyr for the truth, to drink the fatal hemlock in a jayl: A poor requital for fuch important fervices to his country! But thus it is, that " the world gives; thus, that it often rewards its benefactors, of whom it is not worthy. And even the Son of God himself, was by wicked hands crucified and flain as a blafphemer, for afferting that the only true GOD was his FATHER; thereby making himself, as the priests malicioufly accused him, equal with GOD!



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