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BY HOSEA BALLOU,
TO WHICH ARE ADDED
CRITICAL AND EXPLANATORY NOTES.
A brief Memoir of the Author,
WRITTEN BY HIMSELF.
ASTOR, LENOX AND
Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1832,
By THOMAS WHITTEMORE, in the Clerk's Office, of the District Court of Massachusetts.
The discourses contained in this volume, were delivered in the city of Philadelphia, during the two last weeks in Dec. 1821 and the first week in January 1822. Rev. Hosea Ballou, their author, had been invited to that city by the Universalist Society there, and during his short stay, the number of his hearers increased, so that at the last service it was supposed there was not far from seven thousand people.
The sermons were taken down by a stenographer at the time of delivery. The author had not the opportunity of revising and correcting the sheets before they went to press, otherwise some of his arguments might have been more full, and in the language in many cases different. The stenographer, however, flattered himself that he had presented the discourses totidem verbis;" but in this doubtless he was too sanguine.
The first editions of these sermons was published by Mr. Edwin T. Scott, in the year 1822. The style in which they were written exceedingly bad.
We have endeavored to improve them in this respect, although we have not bestowed upon them all that alteration, which, under cireumstances of more leisure, we should have been glad to have done.
In regard to the character of the sermons, we have a word to say. They are all on important doctrinal subjects. No Universalist can read them without feeling a deep and lively interest in the matter before him. They are distinguished by a patient reflection, originality of conception, closeness of reasoning, and pungency of application. The degrading and contradictory doctrines of the orthodox creed are exposed and utterly refuted. The love of God as manifested in the great plan of salvation, which is calculated to produce in man a moral conformity to the divine nature, is set forth, particularly in the sermons entitled “God's mindfulness of man," "characteristics of the Gospel,” and 6 God's uncaused love to men.” We flatter ourselves, and we trust not without reason, that the circulation of this volume will confirm and strengthen the faith of Universalists, bring many to the knowledge of the truth as it is in Jesus, and impart joy and consolation to all.
The Notes will, we have no doubt, be considered a useful supplement to the work. A part of them were appended to the first edition by a gentleman who superintended its publication ; but they have been retrenched in some parts, and enlarged in others.