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agony, and say, is it any wonder that angels lay down their harps, to look into this amazing subject?
Besides, what an influence has the story of Christ's life and death exerted on the state of the world? No book that was ever written has been read by such multitudes, or with such deep and solemn interest as the Gospel of God our Savior. No other history has awakened such emotions, or led to the putting forth of such efforts. While thousands have this precious volume in their hands, only to treat it with indifference, it finds its way to the garret of the poor widow, reaches the heart of the weather beaten sailor, visits the prisoner in his dungeon, and turns the heathen from his dumb idols.
Now in view of these several considerations, is there a man on earth who can lay his hand on his heart, and attempt a vindication of his own carelessLook at the subject in whatever light you please, and you cannot fail to see that it demands serious attention. Only go so far as to allow that the Bible may possibly be true, that there may be an eternal heaven and an eternal hell, and indifference to its communications is folly of the highest kind. But to believe in the reality of these things, and yet make light of them, is conduct for which we can find no appropriate name. e. It is not weakness, it is wisdom
to be serious.
A good man was once asked, why he spent so much time in reading meditation, and prayer. He replied by simply uplifting his eyes and hands to heaven, and saying with great solemnity, "Forever, forever, forever!" This was reason enough for his seriousness, and so it is for the seriousness of any man. No one ever got some just idea of eternity, and of his own unpreparedness for that awful state, without having anxieties awakened in his bosom, such as he never felt before. It must be so in the very nature of the case. Let a deer be once smitten by the archer, and you will find it forsaking the herd and retiring into some quiet thicket, where it may bleed and die alone.
Contemplate facts as they occur. There is an active, enterprising man of business. Once he moved along among the gayest of the gay, but his heart has since been touched by the Spirit of the living God, and he now feels a load there which he neither knows how to carry, nor throw off. You may see him walking with downcast eyes and thoughtful step from the house of God to his own dwelling. His very aspect as he passes from one room to another, and the effort he makes to appear cheerful as he takes his wonted seat at the table, or the fireside, tell with sufficient plainness that there is agony in his soul. Oh, he has learnt that he is a sinner, and must be pardoned or lost.
Yonder too is an amiable intelligent youth. A few days since his feelings were as light and buoyant as the very air he breathed; but now he is borne down to the dust by an apalling consciousness of having offended God. What a change has taken place in so short a time! His countenance, his conversation, his deportment are all altered. Morning and evening, and perhaps at noonday, his seat in the family circle is empty, and were you to pass by his closet door, you might find him on his knees confessing his sins, and crying to God for mercy. The Bible has become his companion, and prayer his employment. Oh, is there any thing little or despicable in such feelings? An atheist may laugh at tears and prayers with perfect consistency, but no one else can. If a man believes the Bible, he must grant that seriousness, deep and daily seriousnesss is rational.
Permit me then to place this whole subject by the side of your consciences, and ask you to decide at once, whether you will be careless any longer.— You will not pretend that real happiness lies in the path which you are now pursuing. Your thoughtless indifference to the concerns of death, judgment, and eternity, may do for the bright and sunny portions of human life. But tell me plainly, does it answer for the silent and lonely hours of midnight? Has it any power to cheer and elevate the spirits while walking through a grave yard? Can it shed light upon the soul in the last struggle of dissolving nature? This
you will not pretend. If you are ever to enjoy genuine peace of mind, in the dark and stormy season of human life, you must open your hearts to the tranquilizing and subduing influences of the gospel.
But let me beg you to make no delay. Not long since a graduate of one of our colleges was heard to say, I have finished my collegiate education, I will now devote two years to the study of a profession, then I will take one year to see what there is in that mighty thing they call, religion. Yes, so proposed this blooming, careless youth, but God had far other results in view. Before this design was half accomplished, the unhappy young man suddenly fell sick, was seized with delirium, and died without hope. Oh my friends, my young friends, if ever you mean to consider this subject, begin now. The longest life is not too long to make your peace with God, and lay up an everlasting treasure in the heavens.
Before closing, I make you one more offer of pardon and eternal life. In the name of Him who bled and died for a lost world, I assure you, if you will repent and believe the gospel, you shall never perish but have everlasting life. Jesus Christ has authorized me to tell you, that there is boundless efficacy in his blood. He has no pleasure in your death. His heart is as full of compassion, as when he hung expiring on the cross. Only forsake your sins, and put your trust in Christ, so iniquity shall not be your ruin.
VAIN man, thy fond pursuits forbear;
Thy sins-how high they mount!
How stands thy dread account?
Death enters-and there's no defence-
Thy flesh, perhaps thy chiefest care,
FROM THE PRESIDENT OF YALE COLLEGE.
"Allow me to express my decided approbation of the object and plan of the National Preacher. It has opened a new channel for the religious influence of the press. It gives a durable form to a selection of able discourses; and probably gains for them a more attentive perusal, by distributing them, not in volumes, but in smaller portions, at regular intervals of time. The execution, so far as I have observed, is such as to satisfy the public expectation."
FROM THE REV. ASAHEL NETTLETON.
"I have read, as I have had opportunity, the Numbers of the National Preacher with great satisfaction. I regard it as a work peculiarly desirable to Clergymen, and, at the same time, as worthy of a place in every intelligent family.”
FROM THE PRESIDENT AND PROFESSORS OF AMHERST COLLEGE.
"Mr. Dickinson has a clear and discriminating mind; and is himself at once an able writer and preacher. Having spent four years at the South and West, and become extensively acquainted with Ministers and Christians of different denominations; and having at the same time, an intimate knowledge of the religious state and wants of New-England; perhaps no man is better qualified to make a powerful and salutary impression on the public mind, by combining (and in a sense directing) the talents of our most eminent divines in his Monthly Preacher.
"Most sincerely do we wish him the co-operation of those whose name and influence may make the work a blessing to many thousands."
FROM PROFESSORS IN PRINCETON THEOLOGICAL SEMINARY.
"The plan proposed by the Rev. Austin Dickinson, of publishing a Monthly Series of Sermons, from the pens of respectable ministers of different denominations of Christians in the United States, is one which, in our opinion, may be rendered highly interesting, and extensively useful. We do, therefore, willingly recommend the undertaking to the patronage of the Christian community."
FROM THE QUARTERLY CHR. SPECTATOR.
"We do not hesitate to say, that Mr. Dickinson has adopted one of the happies expedients hitherto devised, for eliciting that diversity of gifts,' in the Christian ministry, which infinite wisdom and benevolence have bestowed for the edification of the body of Christ, and for bringing sinners to the foot of the cross."
FROM THE NEW-YORK OBSERVER.
"This periodical has, from its commencement in 1826, been regarded as a standard work; and, afforded as it is at the low price of one dollar a year, and sustained by some of the ablest writers of our country, we should expect it would continue to have an extensive and increasing circulation."
FROM THE LADIES' MORNING STAR.
"The excellence and value of this work ought to commend it to the patronage and devout attentionevery family.'
It will be the habitual endeavor of the Editor, in this work, to present such Sermons, on all important subjects of Gospel doctrine and practice, as may tend to honor the great Redeemer and save immortal souls. We have been cheered with constant assurances of its usefulness, and if those who read and appreciate, will make it known to others, and encourage its circulation, its influence may widen and extend so long as the Gospel is preached.
From the Boston Recorder.
"PREACHER TO MANY NATIONS.
"The NATIONAL PREACHER, which has been published for ten years in New-York, besides being widely circulated in our own country, and to some extent in England, is also read with interest in China, in India, in South America, and in the far distant isles of the Pacific. The following extract of a letter from a Missionary at the Sandwich Islands shows in what light the work is regarded on the other side of the globe.
"This plan of calling forth the varied talents and united energies of cotemporaneous preachers, and bringing their happiest efforts before millions of our fellow-men, even while the authors, warmed by their own exertions, are still on their knees, imploring a blessing on the truths they have sent forth, appears admirably adapted to promote the strength and harmony of the churches, to facilitate their highest attainments in knowledge and piety, to excite them to that course of benevolent action which the present state of the world demands, and to supply, to some extent, the spiritual wants of multitudes who are not favored, statedly, with the pulpit and pastoral labors of any minister of Christ. The National Preacher deserves the confidence of the world. May this high-commissioned messenger of Christ be received with thankfulness and joy by tens of millions of our race. May the Divine Author of all the valuable gifts in the church copiously shed down the graces of his Spirit upon the contributors to this evangelical publication, that their writings may be worthy of the enlightened age in which we live, and such as hundreds of millions may be edified to read, when the pens of the writers are exchanged for harps of gold."
A number of individuals, acquainted with men and manners, and of responsible character, to extend the circulation of this work. To such, very generous terms would be offered on application to the Editor.