Page images
[ocr errors]

resulting from utility, more or less general, have often been considered of much greater weight, and have justly determined the question, the objection notwithstanding. Whe ther they have acted in view of reasons, sufficient to justify them in the present case, the candid reader will judge, when he has attended to the following things which are submitted to his consideration, and has perused the volume itself with due attention.

1. The Editors can assure the reader that they have, in no instance, presumed to alter the style in such a manner as to affect the sense of the writer, nor have they found it necessary to make but few verbal corrections; the farthest they have ventured to go, has been in a few instances, chiefly near the close of a discourse, to supply what was evidently wanting in a sentence to make it complete, which, through the hurry of writing, was left unfinished; so that the sermons, as they appear from the press, exhibit the writer truly, both as to matter and style. The critical reader, therefore, has the means of forming his own opinion of both. The Editors persuade themselves, he will agree with them in opinion, that the objection urged has very little weight in the present case: for, though the style is destitute of that studied ornament, which would constitute it what the scripture denominates,

"the enticing words of man's wisdom," it is well adapted to the dignity and simplicity of the sublime subjects of which the writer treats, and such as any one would choose, who desires to hide himself behind his subject, or, in other words, to preach not himself, but Christ Jesus the Lord.

2. The discourses are practical, the matter of them is weighty and solemn, and calculated to diffuse a spirit of true piety; and the peculiar circumstances of Mr. Washburn's death, and of the surviving family, having excited a very general and extended sympathy, with a desire of knowing further particulars of his character and labors, had prepared the way, for giving a greater and more extensive effect to the publication, than, under different circumstances, could have been expected.

3. The peculiar affection of the people of his charge which, after long contention, centered strongly and universally in him, and rendered their short connection with him both pleasant and useful, prompted them to cherish and prolong his memory, in a way which would at once be most honorable to him and useful to themselves and others; and it could, after deliberation, find no better expression than in erecting this monument, which they hope will be more durable and

more expressive of his worth than marble, and at the same time more proper, because the deceased having found a watery grave, no monument of marble could be erected to his memory with the lie the remains of a much lamented friend. dable in itself, and useful in its expression, the Editors deemed it important to gratify.

inscription of, Here much respected, and This affection, lau

4. The ministers of the neighboring churches, with whom Mr. Washburn was particularly associated, having always esteemed him as one of the rising hopes of the Church, were desirious of an opportunity of expressing their esteem of a deceased brother and friend, and by their countenance and assistance, of giving, as it were, extension to his short span of usefulness, called off from his labors, as he was, in the meridian of life; and to cause it to be more extensively true of him, that, "though dead he yet speaketh." And,

5. The publication of the present volume of sermons promised to be the only effectual means of relieving Mrs. Washburn and her orphan children, left under pecuniary embarrassments, and with slender means of support, from the burden of debt, as intimated in the printed proposals for the publication; which circumstance, as it presented a fit oc

casion for the exercise, in this way, of an extended charity, has probably induced, more than any other circumstance, a liberal patronage of the design: and which, though last mentioned, was not of inferior consideration with the Editors in determining and prompting their undertaking: and they hope, the subscribers for the volume, while they have gratified their charitable feelings and views, will find it an ample equivalent for the price of it, and will be disposed to rejoice with the Editors in the expectation that the object, with respect to the family, will be essentially realized, and to unite with them in their fervent prayers to the Father of Lights, that the other objects ofthe publication may, through his influence and blessing, be fully attained.

Farmington, Jan. 1, A. D. 1807.

« PreviousContinue »