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Entered according to act of Congress, in the year 1835, by
GEORGE COLES, in the Clerk's office of the District Court of Connecticut.
This work owes its origin to the following circumstances : The Trustees of the Methodist Church in Poughkeepsie, N. Y., in which the author preached in the summer of 1834, requested to have the Sabbath evening service at six o'clock, instead of eight. But by some of the congregation it was feared that we should have but very few hearers. To obviate this difficulty, if possible, the author gave out, that he would deliver a course of Lectures, on some of the principal doctrines of the church to which he belonged; and in order that he might state them correctly, he wrote them out at full length, and read them to the audience. This plan being somewhat novel, possessed some little attraction, and thereby a respectable congregation was secured.
Another circumstance, and a very important one, in the mind of the writer, was the publication of a new periodical, under the imposing title of “The Herald of Reason and Common Sense:"a work in which some of the doctrines of the Bible, and some of the ordinances of our holy religion were held up to public contempt; and a work in which there was a strange mixture of Atheism, Deism, Materialism, Socinianism, Universalism, and Heresy of almost every kind, and as little of pure Religion, sound“ Reason," and good " Common Sense,” as if it had been avowedly Infidel. The writer of these strictures, therefore, thought it a duty incumbent upon him to lift his voice, and employ his pen, in checking the progress of those fatal errors, and in guarding the youth of his acquaintance against the mischievous tendency of Infidelity, in every form; but in doing this, he could not lay claim to any thing like originality :-So many learn. ed and elaborate books have been written ;-50 many eloquent and powerful sermons have been preached, and published); and so many able, convincing, and irresistible arguments have been urged in defence of Christianity, that it cannot be expected that the author of these Lectures has found out any thing very original, either in argument or illustration. If, however, there is not much that is properly original, there will be found, notwithstanding, a very considerable variety. The reader will sometimes find himself with Moses on the Mount ; then with Joshua in the camp of Israel ; with David, singing to his harp; with the Prophets, rapt in vision; and with the Apostles and their blessed Master, in the valley of humiliation. Anon he will find himself in company with some of the ablest advocates of Christianity and sound theology, that the world has produced, which may, it is hoped, cause him to wish for farther acquaintance with those great and venerable authors. Happy will the writer be, if he shall be the humble instrument of leading any of his younger brethren in the ministry to the more diligent study of these deeply interesting subjects, or a Sabbath school teacher, or member of a Bible class, to the perusal of those invaluable works so often referred to in these pages.