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To the CONGREGATION of Sr. EDMUND's.
My Friends and Fellow-Christians,
TO evince my Gratitude to many of you,
and my affectionate Regard for all,—to testify the Senfe I entertain of those generous Marks of Approbation which you are pleased to bestow upon me, I dedicate these Sermons to you, for whose Benefit they were chiefly written.
Addresses of this kind, I know, are frequently made the vehicles of Adulation. It is always disgusting; it would here be finful. 56 Speak unto us smooth things—prophesy Deceit—is a rule prescribed for a temporizing Conduci, at which my nature revolts. Influenced only by the solemn Voice of Duty, you will ever find me incapable of being swayed by improper Views of Interest, or a fervile dependent Fear. On the contrary, “ through evil report and good re
port,” I shall (in obedience to the Divine Command) “ cry aloud and spare not” in exhorting you to that mode of Faith and Practice which, in my Conscience, I think you should pursue.*
Yet, without incurring the charge of Flattery, much I might say, in this Address, on the Subject of Friendship, Kindness, and Generosity : but Obligations can never be cancelled by words. Much I might also fay, and apply it to many of you, on the pleasing Themes of Public-Virtue, and the Amiableness of Private-Character: but the former is known by its Fruits ; and the latter is happily conspicuous in all those Families with whom I associate. Indeed, those Families are like one Family; of which “ if one Member fuffer, all the Members fuffer with it.” If one is prosperous——the rest are happy. You" rejoice with them that do rejoice, and weep with them that weep.”—This affectionate Harmony—may the Great Author of Peace and Lover of
* See the Sermon addressed to you on the Propriety of a settled Faith, and the Conclusion of the seventeenth in this volume, from page 279 to the end.
Concord continue to you and your Posterity! May He cause you ever to feel the Blessedness and Wisdom of such a Conduct !Happy in yourselves, happy in your Families, may you delight in communicating Happiness to all around you! May the Poor of your Neighbourhood partake of your Bounty, and the supplicated Blessings of Heaven be showered upon you !
To these sincere Wishes for your temporal Felicity are added—for your eternal Salvation—the fervent Prayers of
Your faithful Pastor and Friend
Dudley, February 13th,
THE Author respectfully informs his Readers, that
the following Sermons were written to be preached rather than to be published. Perspicuity and Plainness therefore, are Qualities which he has been more folicitous to attain than Elegance and Refinement. Had his Mind been pre-occupied by the Idea of Publication, his Diction might have been more polished and correct; but would it not have been less warm and impressive ?“He would then have written from the Head ---whereas these Discourses flowed from the Heart.
To an enlightened Public he submits them with a cherished Confidence in its Candour; yet not without a just Apprehension of its Censure,-a more painful Apprehension, he confesses, than at other times he experienced when approaching its Tribunal.
Is he asked the Reason? - He confiders the Character of a Preacher of greater Importance than that of a Poet.--The latter has, in general, no higher Views than to give a smooth and pleasing Currency to the Moments of Time :---the former is to connect these fleeting Portions with Eternity.---The one is only ftudious for the musement of Mankind :---the other is deeply anxious for their SALVATION.
Such are the Sentiments of him who is grateful for the Indulgence which his lighter Productions have received; and which, he trusts, will be extended to these of greater Consequence.--If, from them for from those Addresses which it is his Duty and his Pleasure weekly to deliver) any of his fellow-creatures derive fpiritual Comfort and Improvement---he intreats them to “ give GOD the Glory,” and humbly implores their Prayers in his behalf, that he---a Preacher to others---may not himself be a Cast-away!
Jofeph Amphlett, Esq; Dudley