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THE BOSTON EDITION.
THE Christian Public - is respectfully presented with the Third American Edition of Davies' Sermons. The entire sale of the former editions, and the frequent inquiries for the work, are convincing proofs of its increasing demand ; and the publishers with confidence anticipate the patronage of all who are attached to American divines, or are disposed to encourage American publications. President Davies was undoubtedly one of the most pious, orthodox, and affectionate preachers which have ever appeared in our country. Those who know and love the peculiar and discriminating truths of revelation, will perceive suficient inducements to exert their influence in promoting the circulation of this valuable work.
The admirers of President Davies will be gratified with the rich acquisition of nineteen additional Sermons, which were never before published in America, and which breathe the same spirit of vital piety, that characterizes all his other writings.
IT is with real pleasure I now send into the world a collection of Sermons, by that eminent and amiable man, and my most esteemed and beloved friend, the Rev. Mr. SAMUEL DAVIES. I hope I may be the honoured instrument of promoting the great interests of vital evangelical godliness, by communicating to the public a number of Discourses, which appear to me admirably calculated to increase the knowledge and power of real religion in the minds and hearts of men.
Those who knew and heard Mr. Davies will need no further proof than the perusal of the discourses themselves, that they are the real productions of the author to whom they are ascribed. The sun shews himself to be the sun by the very beams with which he irradiates and enlivens mankind, and is easily distinguished from other luminaries by his surpassing lustre.
I have prefixed to these volumes a sermon upon occasion of his death, by that excellent man the Rev. Dr. Samuel Finley, Mr. Davies' successor to the presidency of New Jersey college ; the discourse I preached to my people the next Lord's-day after I received the distressing news of Mr. Davies' decease ; and a character of the author, as depicted by the Rev. David Bostwick, A. M. of New York.
The idea given of our author in the character and my sermon ; and above all, the just and lively picture which Dr. Finley has exhibited of him in his discourse upon his death, render it unnecessary to enlarge this preface with an account of Mr. Davies' merit and accomplishments : I shall therefore only add, that I most sincerely wish that young ministers more especially would peruse these volumes with the deepest attention and seriousness, and endeavour, in conjunction with earnest prayer, for divine illumination and assistance, to form their discourses according to the model of our author; in which, if I mistake not, are the following excellencies, most worthy of imitation :
A calm and elaborate inquiry into the connection of those passages of scripture which he chooses for his subjects, and a close investigation, when it appeared necessary, into the meaning of his text by researches into the original language, and fair and learned criticism ; a careful attention to the portions of sacred writ upon which he proposes to treat, so that his discourse as naturally rises from his theme as the branch grows from the root, or the stream issues from the fountain. In every page, and almost every line of Mr. Davies' sermons, his readers may discover the subject he at first professed to handle ; and he is ever illustrating, proving, or enforcing some truth or another evidently
contained in it; a reigning regard to the divine word, by comparing and confirming scripture by scripture, by taking the sacred text in its easy and natural sense, and by apt and pertinent citations of passages from holy writ, both in the proof and amplification ; at the same time that our author by no means omits a regard to the dictates of natural conscience and reason, while he either makes his appeal to them, or introduces passages from Pagan antiquity on proper occasions, and to answer some valuable purposes ; an observance of method and order, so as to proceed, like a wise builder, in laying the foundation, and regularly erecting the superstructure, and yet diversifying his method and order, by making them at some times open and express, and at other times indirect and implicit ; a free, manly diction, without any thing of a nice and affected accuracy, or a loud sounding torrent of almost unintelligible words on the one side,, or a loose negligence, or mean and lowcreeping phrases, unworthy of an admission into the pulpit, on the other ; a rich vein of evangelical doctrine and promise, with a large infusion at proper seasons of practical duty, or awful denunciation of the divine wrath against impenitent and incorrigible sinners ; an impartial regard to the cases of all his hearers, like a good steward distributing to all their portion of meat in due season ;
animated and pathetic application, in which our author collects and concentres what he has been proving in his discourses; and urges it with all the powers of forcible address and melting persuasion to the heart.