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TO THE HONORABLE
A NEW edition of those sermons which you have deigned to honor with your approbation is shortly to be published, and various considerations have induced me to solicit the liberty of offering them to your patronage. Angels, who excel us in rank and intelligence, no less than in strength, are looking into the mysteries of redeeming love ; these subjects therefore cannot be deemed unworthy the attention of the most exalted among men: Yet it must be considered an additional honor to our holy religion, and an additional evidence of its real-ity when it is professed and patronized by those who move in the superior walks of life; who are distinguished by their birth, their fortune, their education, and those various virtues private and public which constitute the chief ornament of the man and the christian. The testimony of such tends to silence the common, although erroneous, sentiment that religion is fitted only for the vulgar, for persons of contracted understandings, of illiberal learning, and who are destined to move in the inferior situations of
life. Every friend to christianity who is acquainted with your character, Sir, must therefore feel peculiarly gratified in being able to reckon you among the number of her ardent advocates. Those important stations, both civil and military, to which you have been called by the suffrages of your fellow citizens, are an ample proof of their confidence at once in your integrity and talents: That sacred office in the church of the dear Redeemer, which at the request of its members you have consented to occupy, evidences that with the splendor of the statesman and soldier you are willing also to connect the more humble, although more imperishable honors of the christian. The God of nature has showered upon you in the richest profusion the blessings of his providence, and, what is a much rarer and nobler endowment, he has inspired you with a disposition to employ them for every benevolent and valuable purpose. Your hand, yielding to the impulse of a generous heart, is never wearied in feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, and relieving the wretched who are recommended to your sympathy. Many in different denominations, who now preach to others the unsearchable riches of Christ, are indebted to you as the in
strument of aiding them with the means of obtaining an education ; and the funds of our seminaries both literary and theological, of our Tract and Missionary and Bible Societies have in their turn been replenished with streams from your liberality.
Although the volumes which are now respectfully offered to your patronage make no pretensions to superior excellence either of arrangement or style, yet I venture to assert that they contain those doctrines of the cross which will last for eternity; for the excellency of which the great apostle counted all things but loss, which angels explore with even increasing delight, in which it was your distinguishing privilege to have your mind early instructed, and on which, I trust, that your hopes and my own are immoveably established. No apology is offered for the simplicity of the manner in which these discourses are written. As they were designed chiefly for the frontier settlements, the more plain the language, and the more practical the matter the better they are adapted to answer the end of their publication. Indeed to attempt recommending the truths of inspiration by any outward ornaments is an equal display of ignorance and arrogance ; it is like lighting up a can
dle to increase the radiance of the sun, or attempting to add to the majesty of the Qcean by an inconsiderable rivulet or stream.
Accept, Sir, this public, unseignedexpression of my esteem for the variety and lustre of your virtues ; accept also my most ardent wishes for your welfare both temporal and spiritual.. That you may be long spared as a comfort to your amiable and accomplished partner, a guide and guardian to your promising offspring, an ornament to the church and a blessing to the world, and that your evening sun may be as serene as its meridian has been illustrious is the
prayer of your unworthy, but sincere friend, and humble servant
ALEXANDER PROUDFIT Salem, April 28, 1815..