The following were some of the considerations that influenced me to undertake the publication of the sermons composing this volume.
I. Garbled extracts of some of them had been given to the public by note,takers and reviewers, which had entirely misrepresented their doctrine; I therefore thought it important that the public should be disabused on those points, for two reasons.
1st. Those that had confidence in me, and in my views, might adopt the misrepresentations of note-takers and reviewers as truth, supposing them to be my real sentiments.
2d. Many individuals might be shut out from ever coming at the truth, upon these points, by prejudices growing out of those misrepresentations.
II. I thought the truths themselves, contained in these sermons, of sufficient importance to warrant the publication of some sermons on these points; especially as I have never seen most of them, or heard them discussed, in a manner that was satisfactory to my own mind.
III. In preaching as an evangelist, I have found it especially important to discuss these and other topics, and have almost every where found many misapprehensions and misunderstandings existing in the minds of the multitude on most of these points.
IV. As my health has been such as to render it probable that I shall never be able to labor as an evangelist again, I have thought that it might in some measure subserve the cause of Christ to publish something on several points that I have found by experience to need discussion and explanation.
Two of these sermons have been published in the form of tracts, have gone through several editions, and I suppose have been extensively read. But as some of my friends have desired to have them in a more permanent form, they have therefore wished me to give them a place in the present volume.
The present volume are only a few of the number that I have thought I should publish, could I get time from my other avocations to commit them to writing. Whether any more of them will ever appear, must depend upon the providence and grace of God. They make no pretensions to literary merit; simplicity of arrangement, and perspicuity of style, have been the two objects at which I have aimed; and whether I have made myself understood, will be known when they are read.
They have been written in great haste, and amidst a multitude of embarrassments and pressing duties. From four to eight hours labor has been all that I have been able to bestow on any of them. They have gone to the press almost without a second reading. I should have bestowed more labor upon them, and endeavored to have rendered them more acceptable in a literary point of view, had it been possible to have spared the time from my other avocations. I have done what I could under the circumstances, and if the Lord can use this little volume to do any good, to his name be all the glory.