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ADVERTISEMENT TO VOL. II.
When the arrangements for publishing this work were made, it was supposed that there were materials sufficient to constitute three full volumes. Upon this calculation the prospectus was issued. After some little progress had been made, however, in the printing, it was found that the calculation had been erroneous; (each sermon making fewer pages than was expected ;) and that if the original plan were persisted in, and the materials distributed into so many volumes, they would be of an unusually small size, and that subscribers, upon the terms of subscription first stated, would have reason to complain of the expense of the work. It was resolved therefore to alter the original plan, and comprise the whole in two volumes, which would neither be too large in size nor have too crowded a page. The work, as thus published, will appear much better than if executed as was at first announced, and subscribers will gain a considerable advantage ; receiving the whole works of Bishop RavensCROFT at the reasonable price of $5..
The second volume first makes its appearance; as the memoir, which belongs to the first volume, was not entirely completed when the work was put to press. The materials for the first volume are now complete, and it is in press.
New-York, Nov. 23, 1830.
THE REASONABLENESS OF RELIGION.
1 Kings xviii. 21.
"And Elijah came unto all the people, and said, How long halt ye between two
opinions ? if the Lord be God, follow him ; But if Baal, then follow him.”
The reasonableness of religion is the reproach of those who neglect it; and the benefits it proposes and confers on those who embrace and follow its salutary laws, is the just condemnation of all who are not led by its sanctions to prefer the interests of eternity to those of time; and so to prefer them, as to manifest, in the conduct of life, that what is highest in value, and first in importance, is chief in desire, and foremost in pursuit.
Now while I am sure, that there is not one among those to whom I am speaking who would hesitate a moment to acknowledge their belief in the being of God, and the consequent obligation of all his creatures to serve and please him, I would ask how it comes to pass, nevertheless, that so few are influenced, in any degree, by this so universal admission ? To this, I doubt not, that some would return one kind of answer, some another, and some no answer at all. The true answer, however, I fancy, will be, the want of consideration, the neglect of any serious examition of our actual condition, and of the truths of revelation, as, connected with that condition.
It is want of serious reflection, my dear hearers, that gives to the enemy of our souls his chief power against us, and enables him to array the world and the things that are in it in so captivating a dress as to be taken, by many, in exchange for the favour of God and eternal life in the world to come.
Yet I should suppose, that if any thing short of eternity can bring us to reflect seriously, it must be the end that awaits us, when this world and all its deluding promises shall pass away as a dream when one awaketh—it must be the reality of our present condition, as in the sight of God, whether we are in his favour or exposed to his wrath-it must be the principle by which we are actuated in this life, and which shall determine our state in that which is to come. But what says experience? what say the consciences of the greater part now present, both of young and old? Alas! the answer is ready; we have not thought of these things; we have not realized them. To-day, then, if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts, but meet your eternal interests with a fair consideration of their value, and if the Lord be God follow him, but if Baal, then follow him.
Surely, my friends, it is a most fair alternative, and just such an appeal to our reason and understanding as contenders for the supremacy of human reason require; and such, moreover, as might teach the enemies of Christianity, who ignorantly charge it with requiring of them what is contrary to reason, to consider rather, how very reasonable a service it is, how exactly accommodated to our condition, calculated to exalt our reason, enlarge our perceptions, elevate our hopes, refine our natures, purify our hearts, and fit us, sinners that we are, for Heavenly glory.
In discoursing on this passage of Scripturé, I shall
First, point out what is to be understood by the word Baal, in connexion with its application to the present circumstances of Christians ;
SECONDLY, I shall inquire into the general causes of that hesitation and reluctance to embrace religion which is so manifest among us; and, then,
CONCLUDE with an application of the subject:
And Elijah came to all the people, and said, How long hall ye between two opinions ? if the LORD be God, follow him ; but if Baal, then follow him.
1. First I am to point out what is to be understood by the word Baal, in connexion with its application to the present circumstances of Christians.