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These discourses have been selected from the manu
cripts of the lamented author, in the hope, that they might prove an acceptable offering to his friends, and an auxiliary to the great interests of christian piety and charity, which it was the object of his ministry to promote. They are not presented as the best possible specimen, that might be furnished of his professional gifts, or even of his accustomed strain of preaching. The difficulties, inseparable from all post-humous publications, have been experienced in this. And, as is intimated in the following Memoir, the practice of Dr. Abbot of improving local occurrences and interesting passing events, as the topics of his discourses, while it must have contributed to the usefulness and acceptance of his pulpit services, has rendered a selection from his manuscripts a task of peculiar delicacy. Could this volume have been prepared under his own inspection and judgment, it cannot be doubted, that in point of literary execution, it might have been more worthy of the general favor.
But sermons, it must be remembered, are not to be read, chiefly for the gratification of a fastidious taste, but as helps to religious knowledge; to the cherishing of devout affections, and the maintenance of an holy life. The very circumstance, therefore, to which we have alluded, may give to this selection an additional interest to the mind of the serious reader. He may learn here, how wisely the various providence of God in the appointnients of prosperity or of adversity as the lot of individuals, families, or communities, may be marked and improved. For these great purposes, and as containing lessons of practical godliness, we cordially commend this volume to christians of every name. They will find here, not words of “doubtful disputation," but of vital truth. And we are certain, that it will be the accomplishment of the most earnest wishes of their author,.should they prove in any degree instrumental of diffusing among our churches and within our hearts, that spirit of evangelic love and charity, which pervaded his own.
Boston, Dec. 25, 1830.