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WE the subscribers, members of the First Presbyterian Congregation of Newark, unite in preferring a respeitful request to the Reverend Do&or Macwhorter, our much esteemed Pastor, that he would favor us with a copy of the systematical LeEtures, which he is now delivering, that we may put them to press for the present and future benefit of us and our children ; and that we may enjoy the happiness of hearing our beloved minister and guide speaking to us, even when he shall be sleeping in the grave. And if, at this our earnest request, these Lectures shall be published, we do hereby severally agree to take the number of copies which underneath is annexed to our respective names
[The above was followed by a subscription for two hundred and four copies.]
P R E F A CE.
THE public seems to have a claim upon every Author, either from custom, or the nature of the case, that he should give some account why he ushers his productions into the world. This claim is no where made with more propriety than upon the publishers of common sermons. All the author can say in apology for his own conduct, is, that this publication was not a matter of his own devising or choice. It was much importunity that prevailed upon him to submit to this business. Some kind and peculiar friends, to whom it was difficult for him to refuse any thing, in a measure pressed him hereto.
His objections were, that they were only common place discourses-that there was nothing new in them—that they contained nothing but such truths as had been preached and printed over and over again ever since the Reformation that the world was full of sermons, whose method, stile, and composition were vastly superior to any thing to which he could make a pretension, and therefore, he might stand excused from such an undertaking.–But it was plead, every one has his friends, and that he had many throughout the Union, who would read his works, and that too, because they were his, and that it was proper they should be gratified especially, that it would be acceptable to the people of his own charge-that these discourses would be read by the younger part of his congregation, when others would not that they might be useful to souls when be should sleep in the dust-that they
would be an evidence to posterity of the doctrines which had been taught in this Church, while he was Pastor of it, throughout a period of more than forty-four years—and that when he should be dead, he might still preach unto them.
These, with other considerations laid before him, prevailed, and with reluctance and diffidence, he has given them up to pube lic view.
Whether these are the best selection he could make from his manuscripts, he does not pretend to say—but he endeavoured to choose the best he could think of, at the time of making it.
When these Sermons were composed for his usual preaching, not dreaming of their ever being desired for publication, and not having made notes of reference to authors from whom he obtained assistance, and it is now impracticable for him to do it ; all he can say is, he knows that he is obliged to many ; therefore, this general acknowledgment must suffice. Were it in his power to be particular, he would with pleasure do it.
In these Discourses, he has avoided the intricacies of controversy ; because it never was his custom to carry such things into the pulpit, neither did he ever observe much good arising from it. His mode of preaching has been to inculcate upon his people the great doctrines and duties of the gospel; and if the plain truths of religion will not be beneficial to souls, it is not probable disputation will be of much service in promoting the sweet, tender and blessed spirit of christianity.
Seeing these discourses are now published, the author's earnest and fervent prayer is, that God of his special grace would be pleased to bless them, render them useful in the instruction, awakening and conversion of sone poor sinners, and for the edification, direction and consolation of some of the dear friends of the precious Immanuel ; to whom be glory in the churches forever.