THE LECTURER’S PREFACE.
Let it be remembered
, that these Lectures were delivered to
my own congregation.
entered upon, without my having previously marked out any plan or outline of them, and have been
pursued, from week to week, as one subject naturally introduced another, and as, from one lecture
to another, I saw the state of our people seemed to require.
I consented to have the Editor of the
report them, upon his own responsibility,
because he thought that it might excite a deeper interest in, and extend the usefulness of, his paper.
And as I am now a Pastor, and have not sufficient health to labor as an Evangelist, and as it has
pleased the Head of the Church to give me some experience in revivals of religion, I thought it
possible that, while I was doing the work of a Pastor in my own church, I might, in this way, be of
some little service to the churches abroad.
I found a particular inducement to this course, in the fact that on my return from the
Mediterranean, I learned, with pain, that the spirit of revival had greatly declined in the United
States, and that a spirit of jangling and controversy alarmingly prevailed.
The peculiar circumstances of the church, and the state of revivals, was such, as
to lead me to the discussion of some points that I would gladly have avoided, had the omission
been consistent with my main design, to reach and arouse the church, when she was fast settling
down upon her lees.
I am far from setting up the claim of
upon this or any other subject. I have given
my own views, so far as I have gone, without pretending to have exhausted the subject, or to have
spoken in the best possible manner upon the points I have discussed.
I am too well acquainted with the state of the church, and especially with the state of some of
its ministers, to expect to escape without censure. I have felt obliged to say some things that I fear
will not, in all instances, be received as kindly as they were
But whatever may be the
result of saying the truth as it respects
I have reason to believe, that the great body of
people will receive and be benefited by what I have said.
What I have said upon the subject of prayer, will not, I am well aware, be understood and
received by a certain portion of the church and all I can say is, “
He that hath an ear to hear, let
I had not the most distant idea until recently, that these Lectures, is this, or any other form,