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His unwritten Sermons were as regularly planned, and as faithfully studied, as those which he penned; and his quick perception, ready memory, power of illustration, and the fervor excited by the very exercise of addressing an assembly of immortals, to whom his message was to be a savor of eternal life, or death,―gave an impressiveness to his unwritten discourses, perhaps, even beyond what attended his written Sermons. His great reason for writing at all, was, the exhausting effect, upon his physical powers, of preaching constantly without notes. It appears to have been no part of Dr. Payson's concern, to write a great Sermon; but the question, which seems to have been uppermost in his mind, was, how shall I present this subject so as to accomplish the most good? And in answering this question he consulted the capacity of ordinary hearers. Hence the great simplicity of his language, even in his boldest flights; hence the plainness and directness of his address, and a greater diffuseness of style, than he would otherwise have adopted.
In judging of these Sermons as intellectual efforts, it should also be remembered, that, besides the ceaseless calls for pastoral labor by a very numerous flock, and other demands upon his time, the preparing and preaching of three such Sermons a week, was the regular employment of Dr. Payson, during the greater part of his ministry. He seldom failed to meet his pastoral charge on the Sabbath, and at the weekly lecture; and the powers of his mind appear, not so much in single discourses, as in the general excellence of all, and that almost "infinite variety," which they exhibit, in the manner of presenting and enforcing truth and duty. He never nods.' While there is an obvious difference between his early and late productions, which shows a rapid progress of mind; there is a surprising equality in those which belong to the same period of his ministry, and this circumstance has increased the difficulty of making the selection.
The preceding suggestions have not arisen from the slightest conviction, that the following Sermons need any apology. On the contrary, it is believed, they will fill a place unoccupied in this species of literature, and be found a valuable accession to its riches.
It was originally contemplated, that the volume should include those Sermons of Dr. Payson, which have already been published. But on further examination of the manuscripts, it was thought, that subscribers and the public would be more obliged and profited by originals, possessing equal excellence; espe cially, as many are necessarily suppressed, which are not less deserving of the public eye. As an act of justice to the author, however, one is inserted, which has already appeared, that the reader, by a comparison of the others with this, might have an opportunity to judge what would have been their appearance, had they been revised by the Doctor's own hand.-For the arrangement of the Sermons, their titles, and some minor things, the editor is responsible.
The volume, it is believed, will fulfil every promise held out in the proposals; and contains a miniature likeness of its author, in addition. It is commended to that Spirit, who has already set his seal to its truths.
Sinners entreated to hear God's Voice. 263
The Holy Ghost saith, To-day if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts.-
The Difficulty of escaping the Damnation of
How can ye escape the damnation of hell?-Matthew xxiii. 33.
The dead in Sin made alive.
And you hath be quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins; wherein, in time past, ye walked, according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience; among whom also we all had our conversation in times past, in the lusts of the flesh, fulfilling the desires of our flesh, and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others. But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ; (by grace are ye saved;) and hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus; that in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace, in his kindness toward us, through Christ Jesus.-Ephesians ii. 1-7.
The universal Law of Forgiveness.
If thy brother trespass against thee, rebuke him; and if he repeat, forgive him.And if he trespass against thee seven times in a day, and seven times in a day turn again to thee, saying, I repent, thou shalt forgive him.-Luke xvii. 3, 4.
Fraud exposed and condemned.
It is naught, it is naught, saith the buyer: but when he is gone his way, then he boasteth.-Proverbs xx. 14.
The Mark of Deliverance.
And the Lord said unto him, Go through the midst of the city, and set a mark upon the foreheads of the men that sigh and cry for all the abominations that be done in the midst thereof. And to the others he said in my hearing, Go ye after him through the city and smite; let not your eye spare, neither have ye pity; slay utterly old and young; but come not near any man upon whom is the mark.Ezekiel ix. 4, 5, 6.
The Christian Manner of expressing Grati
The Lord give mercy unto the bouse of Onesiphorus; for he oft refreshed me, and was not ashamed of my chain. But when he was in, Rome, he sought me out very diligently, and found me. The Lord grant unto him, that he may find mercy of the Lord in that day.-2 Timothy i. 16, 17, 18.
The timely Presence and Salutation of Jesus. 401
And as they thus spake, Jesus himself stood in the midst of them, and saith unto them, Peace be unto you.-Luke xxiv. 36.
A Festival kept to the Lord.
When ye have gathered in the fruit of the land, ye shall keep a feast unto the
The Second Coming of Christ.
Behold he cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see him, and, they also which pierced him; and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of him: Even so. Amen.-Revelation i. 7.
Equality of Men with Angels.
For they are equal unto the angels.-Luke xx. 36.
The Punishment of the Wicked dreadful and
Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched.-Mark ix. 44.