Page images



New-York, ss.

Southern District of

BE IT REMEMB, RED, That on the 22d day of May, A. B. 1826, in the fiftieth year of the Independence of the United States of America, Austin Dickinson, of the said District, hath deposited in this (L. S.) office the title of a Book, or Periodical Work, the right whereof he claims as Editor and Proprietor, in the words following, to wit

Edited by Rev. Austin Dickinson,

"The National Preacher or Monthly Sermons from Living Ministers. New-York."

In conformity to the Act of the Congress of the United States, entitled "An Act for the encouragement of earning, by securing the copies of maps, charts, and books, to the authors and proprietors of such copies, And also to an act, entitled An Act, supplementary to an act, entiluring the times therein me utioned." led An Act for the encouragement of learning by securing the copies of maps, charts, and books, to the uthors and proprietors of such copies, during the times therein mentioned, and extending the benefits thereof >the arts of designing, engraving, and etching historical and other prints."


Clerk of the Southern District of New-York.

In the course of this Volume, from fourteen to twenty-five thousand Numbers have been published monthly; making about two hundred thousand during the year. They have found their way into most parts of the United States, and, some of them, to other quarters of the globe. What influence they may silently exert, in the conference room, the family circle, or the retired chamber; or what bearings some of them may have on the nation, and the heathen world, will be told, when "God shall bring every work into Judgment."

In the first Number, the youthful Christian is summoned to a lofty standard of intellectual and moral excellence; and that perfect EXAMPLE is presented, which should be imitated by all mankind. In the next, is exhibited the blessed influence of divine truth, on the understanding and heart. In the third, the delusive hope which some cherish, that after death it shall be as well with the wicked as with the righteous, is effectually exposed. And the fourth should convict all self-destroyers, of the exceeding malignity of sin; and arouse them to seek help, where only it can be found. The next Number illustrates in what manner the power of Truth and Love may and must be exerted for renovating the world. The sixth furnishes weighty considerations in behalf of Prayer for rulers. And the seventh should convince both ministers and churches, of their sad defection from the example of Christ and his apostles; and of their peculiar and increasing responsibilities. The one which follows, will be read with interest, by all who would grow in the likeness of their Redeemer and God. In the ninth Number, the delaying sinner may see, amid the beams of God's goodness, his own ingratitude, guilt, and danger; and the mere moralist and philosophical christian may perceive the striking contrast between his views and feelings, and those of the true believer. In Number ten, the statesman and patriot may learn, how his country's glory and happiness may be effectually secured, or inevitably lost. In the next, all may learn the unchanging character of the God with whom they have to do; and the wisdom of submitting, without reserve, to his sovereign will. And the concluding Number presents an illustrious example of that full assurance of faith and hope, which the diligent Christian may attain.

While no part of a preacher's duty will be undervalued, it is intended, hereafter, to insert a greater proportion of such Sermons, as are designed, by divine help, to have an immediate and permanent effect on sinners. Notwithstanding mankind are yet mostly in rebellion against God, there is, perhaps, from the sweetness and elevation of heavenly themes, a strong temptation to preach more frequently to saints, than is consistent with the rule of giving to every one his portion in due scason. But he who keeps in view that great dividing line which extends alike through both worlds-who realizes that on the one side is nought but rebellion and suffering, and on the other, joy unspeakable and full of glory-he surely may even forget those already gained, if so doing, he can persuade others to turn, ere they reach the impassable gulf.

To despair of any, not yet under the final reprobation of God, is unchristian-is dishonorable, alike to the word, and blood, and Spirit of Christ, and to the Hearer of prayer. And, at the same time, the possibility of losing a soul by delay, is too tremendously awful, to allow any who have words of eternal life to dispense, ever to encourage waiting in sin till to-morrow.

The Sermons of this Volume, it is seen, are chiefly from those, who, in the ordinary course of Providence, must soon finish their testimony on earth. That they may have their full reward in heaven, and that the daily increasing eirculation of this work may help to inspire others so to write for it, as to save themselves and them that read, is the fervent prayer and hope of the

NEW-YORK, MAY, 1829.


[blocks in formation]


I JOHN ii. 14.-I have written unto you, young men, because ye are strong, and the word of God abideth in you, and ye have overcome the wicked one.

THE fact that these young men were Christians-the fact that they had begun to receive that spiritual strength which Divine grace imparts to all the followers of the Redeemer-the fact that the word of God had entered into their hearts, and was abiding there, like a well of water, springing up to everlasting life-the fact that they had overcome the enemy of their souls-the fact, in short, that they had been born of the Spirit, was the very reason why the apostle wrote to warn them against sin, and to exhort them to press onward to the highest point of Christian holiness.

So now, it is not enough for the youthful Christian, that he has repented and believed. The work of pastoral vigilance over him does not cease at the moment he is brought into the kingdom of God. It is but just begun. He needs perpetually to be warned against the illusions that beset his path, and the snares that may interrupt his progress towards celestial glory; and perpetually to be incited to holier aspirations, and to more devoted usefulness.

Upon youthful Christians great responsibilities are devolving. I speak, not only of the moral influence which they are now exerting, or which they ought to be exerting, on their companions and friends, and of the results which must come from that influence properly directed; but I speak more particularly of the bearing which their future character and efforts are to have on the general prosperity and triumph of the Church of God. The moral character of another generation is to be shaped by their spirit and their examples. The religious enterprises and triumphs of another age are to be achieved by their hands. The immediate destinies of that great kingdom, which is advancing to fill the earth with light

[ocr errors]

and joy, are soon to be intrusted to their keeping, for them to accelerate
its march to universal power, or to delay the consummation of its glory.
Great results are therefore depending upon what they shall be, and what
they shall do. And in this period of youth, it is for them to determine
how well fitted they shall be to discharge these great responsibilities.
They have a noble part to act in the history of the world's redemption;
and now, if ever, they must acquire those habits of devotion, and that
character of decided and powerful Christian influence, which may enable
them nobly to sustain the noble part that will devolve
upon them.

It is not enough, then, for the young Christian to be barely a believer; -it is not for him to be satisfied with having just so much piety as will carry him reputably through the world, and safely into heaven; it should be his aim to become a Christian of eminent piety and of eminent usefulness. It should be his aim to cultivate all those habits, and to acquire all those traits of character, which will qualify him to discharge all his responsibilities.

Suffer me, then, to suggest to youthful Christians some traits of character which they must now acquire and cultivate as a preparation for sustaining, happily to themselves and acceptably to God, the part which they will so soon be summoned to perform.

And among the points of character which the young Christian ought to cultivate, I would specify the following: First, A thirst for knowledge. Secondly, The spirit of Christian activity. Thirdly, Self-denial; and Fourthly, The habit and spirit of prayer.

I. The young Christian ought to aim at the highest degree of intellectual improvement within his reach. An ignorant man may be truly a Christian; may be devout; may be safe and happy; may be in a measure useful;-not, however, because of his ignorance, but in spite of it. He may be truly a Christian, devout and happy; but his Christian character, instead of resting on his ignorance, will rest on what he knows. He will love God, not because he knows him not, but because he knows him. He will hope in Christ, not because he is ignorant of what Christ has done, but because he knows that Christ has died to redeem him from his iniquities. His desires will tend towards heaven, not because he is ignorant, but because he knows that in his Father's house are many mansions. His devotion, if it were the devotion of ignorance, would be superstition; but being Christian devotion, it arises from his knowing that his God is the true God, and a rewarder of them that diligently seek him. And that happy feeling of safety, under the overshadowing wing of the Almighty, is not a delusion which the darkness of his understanding has created, but a reality, included in the fact which he knows, that all things shall work together for good to them that love God. Now take this ignorant Christian and pour upon his mind a flood of knowledge. Let his faculties be expanded and strengthened by some sudden influence, till he shall have all that reach of thought and all those powers of discrimination, which belong to the mind fully instructed into the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven. Let his conceptions of God, and of Christ,

[ocr errors]
« PreviousContinue »