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2. That this festival may be kept to the Lord, it is further necessary that we should render unto Him thanksgiving and praise. This is a duty incumbent upon each individual, and must proceed from the heart. Public and social demonstrations of gratitude may be confined wholly to the outward form, while the heart has no share in them, and the soul is left uublest and joyless in view of the loving kindness of the Lord. But on this occasion, men are called upon especially to praise the Lord; to lift up the heart in thankfulness to Him who visiteth the earth, and watereth it, who maketh it soft with showers, and blesseth the springing thereof; who causeth the pastures to be clothed with flowers, and the valleys to be covered over with corn.
3. It is important, in order to a suitable and becoming observance of this occasion, that we should make a consecration to the Lord of ourselves and of those bounties of His providence, of which He condescends to make us his stewards. He rightfully demands that we present our bodies a living sacrifice holy and acceptable to Him. And every act of religious worship and homage, every observance designed to commemorate His goodness and mercy towards ourselves, should lead us to cherish the dispositions which are pleasing in His sight. He exhibits himself not only as the object of supreme love and spiritual worship,--but as our high Exemplar in goodness and mercy, and truth and holiness. As He has not left himself without witness in that He does good to all, so He requires that they should be merciful even as their Father in heaven is merciful, and that they should never forget to do good and to communicate. What has any man that he has not received from the great Father of lights, the Giver of every good and perfect gift? And is not the earth the Lord's, and the fullness thereof? Is he not, by bestowing upon his creatures the means of subsistence and comfort, reminding them of their obligation to imitate his beneficence in proportion to the means put into their hands? While then on this occasion his own goodness to the children of men is celebrated, while they engage in public demonstrations of thankfulness and joy, in view of the divine munificence, displayed in crowning the year with plenty, -let them consider by what acts of benevolence, --what deeds of mercy,—what efforts to do good according to their several ability, they may honor the Lord with their substance, in administering to the necessities of others, in alleviating human wretchedness, in sustaining and advancing the institutions of religion, and in promoting the order and welfare of society. It may not always be expedient or practicable on this particular day, to deal thy bread to the hungry, to bring the poor
into thy house, or to clothe the naked, but this joyous anniversary should certainly be improved, for exciting and invigorating benevolent affections and for forming charitable designs and cultivating resolutions of extensive usefulness. The Lord demands this at our hands, that we should do whatever may be in our power to promote the advancement of his cause, to cherish and support the institutions which he has appointed and which are designed to bless mankind. And this surely, is an appropriate season for considering our obligations to an unreserved consecration of ourselves to the Lord.
In view of the subject, it becomes all to enquire whether this festival has been by them observed, in times past, agreeably to its original design, and to be humble and penitent in view of past ingratitude. Many such seasons may have passed away, without any suitable en deavors on our part, to secure the objects which ought to have been kept in view. Has it not been in too many instances regarded only as a day of feasting, while He, by whose beneficence our houses are filled with plenty, has been forgotten?
And may we not see how desirable it is, that we earnestly seek to come up to the measure of duty and gratitude implied in keeping a festival to the Lord ? If this object is fully attained, it may well be regarded as a season of rejoicing. It should be made a festival of thanksgiving and praise to Him who orders the seasons in mercy, and who is ever well pleased with the grateful homage of his creatures. Well may we rejoice in the Lord and be joyful in the God of our salvation.
And while you praise the Lord for His goodness this year also,enlarge your charities, and extend your benevolent regards over the wide field which is spread out before you. The field is the world. And it presents the objects which demand the exercise of your beneficence, that you may prove yourselves to be the children of Him who causes the sun to shine upon the evil and the good. They that are prepared to keep this festival to the Lord, will be prepared to enlarge, and not to circumscribe, within narrow limits, their efforts to do good. The institutions of religion are to be supported—the hungry to be fed, and the naked clothed. Nations are to be evangelized and reclaimed from the darkness of heathenism. The dark habitations of cruelty are to be enlightened and cheered with the Sun of Righteousness. And, it is in the use of such means as Heaven in mercy imparts, that the truly thankful will evince their gratitude to God in deeds of benevolence to man.
FROM THE PRESIDENT OF YALE COLLEGE.
" Allow me to express my decided approbation of the object and plan of the Na. tional Prea her. 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 mre attentive perusal, by distributing them, not in volumes, but in smaller portions, at regular i tervals of time. The execution, so far as I bare observeu, is such as to satisfy the public expectation.”
FROM THE REV. ASAHEL NETILETON.
“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 nind ; 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.
ost sincerely do we wish him the co-operation of those, whose name and influ. ence may make the work a blessing to many thousaads.”
FROM PROFESSORS IN PRINCETON THEOLOGICAL SEMINA Y.
“ The plan proposed by the Rev. Austin Dickinson, of publishing a Monthly Series of Sermons, from the pens of respectable ministers of different denomination's 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 happiest 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 attention of every 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."
WANTED, A number of individuals, acquainted with men and manners, and of responsible character, to extend the circulation of this work. To such, rery generous terms would be afforded on application to the Editor.
TERMS NEXT PAGE.
EDITED BY Rev. AUSTIN DICKINSON.
Office at the Bookstore of John S. Taylor, 151 Nassau-street, New-York.
CONTENTS OF No. 7, Vol. XI. - DEC. 1836.
Two SERMONS :-" The Lord our Righteousness ;" by Rev.
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