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From such materials, however, as could be col-. lected from different sources, some sketches were drawn up and published in the Evangelical Magazine. In the course of these enquiries, the Editor of the present work was lead to inspect the manuscripts of Dr. Swift ; but found them in such a state, that they must be copied and corrected, to be read with any advantage. Dr. Swift had not been in the habit for many years, of writing out. his sermons at full length: His manuscripts, therefore, were merely short minutes which he made, to assist him in digesting and recollecting his. thoughts. Still they appeared too valuable to be wholly lost to the world. Numerous persons al-, so wished for copies of them. But here lay a difficulty. Dr. Swift, as it was well known, never intended them for publication, and it seemed like doing injustice to his reputation, to publish them in their imperfect state. The following motives, at last determined the publication of them,.not-withstanding the before mentioned objection.Dr. Swift had left behind him a numerous family, who wished to be able to peruse some of the manuscripts ; which were altogether useless in their present ssate. It was finally concluded, therefore, to publish them in the way stated in the printed proposals ; the avails of the publication being added to the funds of the Evangelical Society in this Sta:e, instituted for the purpose of aiding needy and pious young men for the work of the ministry.. Dr. Swift had been known to be friendly to the landable designs of the society, to have had the guod of pious young men much at heart, and could not, therefore, it was supposed, with reason, have refused that the world should, in this way, still receive benefit from his writings.
In the proposals, mentjon was made of Dis. courses and Essays. It was, at the time when the
proposals were published, contemplated to digest some of the manuscripis into the form of Essays, particularly those on the covenant and on the government of the church. But this design has been laid aside, and the manuscripts are all published in the form of Discourses. Perhaps some may be disposed to think that a better selection might have been made than the one now offered to the public. With respect to this point, the Editor can, say, merely, that he has been obliged to select those discourses which he could easily read and de cypher, and that his arocations did not admit of his examining the variety of manuscripts to the extent which he could have wished. Many of the Dis.
svill be seen, are short ; but perhaps this very circumstance will induce some to read them, who would not enter upon the labor of reading Discourses of usual length. Besides, a little a little variety in ublications of this nature, is not disagreeable.no
It is not pretended that the work will have a tendency greatly to add to the reputation of Dr. Swift, or that it will give those who have been "strangers to his reputation, a just idea of his merits. Those, however, who knew him, will, by it, be assisted in recalling him to mind. His numerous friends, will, it is believed, cherish it as a presious, although imperfect memorial, of a great and good man. Dr. Swift has, through the blessing of God, been to many, a spiritual father. All such entertain for him great personal regard, and will, without doubt, peruse his writings with feelings very different from those, with which they would read the writings of a stranger. Such persons will receive the book with the same cordiality with which they received the author when living: They will not reject it, because it may lack
the studied beauties of style and composition. It was the ardent wish of his heart to promote religion in the world, as being emphatically “the one thing needful." In comparison with this, all things else were by him undervalued. His mind, like that of Paul, was swallowed up in the great object of winning souls to Christ. He did not seek great things for himself; but was willing to endure hardships and make many personal sacrifices for the good of others. In coming into this new country at so early a period, he appears to have been influenced by the most benevolent feelings, and he will long be remembered as, in a sense,
the Apostle of Vermont.
His brethren in the ministry, who have ever entertained for him a peculiar respect, will consider any thing relating to him as precious. It is hoped that all, into whose hands this book may come, will experience from it quickening, edification, and comfort.-It is submitted to the public with the hope that it will be candidly received, and with earnest prayer to God, that it may please hin to make it instrumental in promoting that spiritual welfare of mankind, to which the life of the ese teemed. Author was sincerely and ardently dow voted..
Middlebury, Nov. 27, 1805.
Table of Contents.
Rev. Lemuel Haynes' Sermon on the occasion
DR. SWIFT'S DISCOURSES.