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ASTOR, LENOX AND
[L. S.] District of Massachusetts, to wit : District Clerk's Office.
BE IT REMEMBERED, that on the tenth day of May, A. D. 1813, and in the thirty-seventh
WM. S. SHAW, Clerk of the District of Massachusetts,
TO THE CONGREGATION WHO SUPPORT THE LECTURE IN
PARK STREET CHURCH ON SABBATH EVENING.
MY DEAR FRIENDS,
In dedicating to you a series of Discourses prepared for your benefit, and now published at the request of a very respectable portion of you, I think I am prompted no less by propriety than feeling. Though many of you do not belong to my particular charge, the Lecture which you have contributed to maintain is your own, and these fruits of it are your own.
I am glad also to have this opportunity to express my gratitude for the liberality and candour with which you have supported that Exercise, and statedly listened to the expositions there attempted. As a distinct expression of this sentiment I commit these plain, unadorned Discourses which you have caused to be preached, to your patronage and protection, while I commend them in a higher sense to the gracious protection of God.
Should others chance to cast an eye on the following pages, they will probably regard them with various feelings; but
you, my brethren, will certainly read them with candour and kindness, and especially the numerous proofs adduced from the Word of God. On these I beseech you to ponder with deep and solemn attention, and with many prayers. By the Book which furnishes these proofs, we must all be judged in the Day that shall decide the eternal destinies of men. He is an infidel who will not suffer that volume absolutely to govern his faith, in spite of preconceived opinions or present reasonings. It was to be expected that a Revelation of the Infinite God would rise above the blinded reason of man. “My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord; for as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.” If any of you should feel as though some parts were too much against you, before
you decide recollect that you are a party concerned. Whotver sits down to these sheets with a proud determination, whatever the Scriptures may decide, to think for himself, will be likely to rise with his old opinions. But he who enters on the investigation with humility and prayer, will be guided into all truth, whether he finds it in these pages or not. If any man is resolved not to bow implicitly to the Word of God, I beseech him to close the book here.
In these Discourses you will find no reasonings on points foreign to godliness,-no theories about the ORIGIN OF SIN,— no challenge for a condITIONAL CONSENT TO BE DAMNED,– no perplexing speculations about TASTE and EXERCISE ;but the fundamental and practical truths of our holy reli