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EDITED BY REV. AUSTIN DICKINSON, NEW-YORK.
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No. 82.----March, 1833.
Sermon by Rev. Mr. Lintner, on Experimental Religion.
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From the President of Yale College. 6 Allow me to express my decided approbation of the object and plan of the Na. tional Preacher. It has opened a new channel for the religious influence of the press. It gives a durable form to a selection of able discourses ; and probably gains for them a more attentive perusal, by distributing them, not in volumes, but in smaller portions, at regular intervals of time. The execution, so far as I have observed, is such as to satisfy the public expectation.
From the Rev. Asahel Nettleton. “ I have read, as I have had opportunity, the Numbers of the National Preacher, with great satisfaction. I regard it as a work peculiarly desirable to Clergymen, and at the same time, as worthy of a place in every intelligent family."
From the President and Professors of Amherst College. " Mr. Dickinson has a clear and discriminating mind; and is himself, at once, an able writer and preacher. Having spent four years at the South and West, and become extensively acquainted with Ministers and Christians of different denominations ; and having at the same time, an intimate knowledge of the religious state and wants of New-England; perhaps no man is better qualified to make a powerful and salutary impression on the public mind, by combining, and in a sense directing) the talents of our most eminent Divines in his Monthly Preacher.
“ Most sincerely do we wish him the co-operation of those, whose name and influence may make the work a blessing to many thousands."
From Professors of Princeton Theological Seminary. “ The plan, proposed by the Rev. Austin Dickinson, of publishing a Monthly Series of Sermons, from the pens of respectable Ministers of different denominations of Christians in the United States, is one, which, in our opinion, may be rendered highly interesting, and extensively useful. We do therefore willingly recommend the undertaking to the patronage of the Christian community."
From the Quarterly Ch. Spectator. “We do not hesitate to say, that Mr. Dickinson has adopted one of the happiest expedients hitherto devised, for eliciting that diversity of gifts,' in the Christian ministry, which infinite wisdom and benevolence have bestowed for the edification of the body of Christ, and for bringing sinners to the foot of the cross."
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1 JOHN v. 10.—He that believeth on the Son of God hath the
witness in himself.
THERE are many evidences to establish the truth of the Christian religion. We have the evidence of its first witnesses, who have declared unto us what they have seen and heard, and whose credibility is established by history. The supernatural occurrences, which have attended the establishment and propagation of our religion, are demonstrations of its truth and reality. The fact, that it has existed so long in the world, and survived every attempt to destroy it, is a strong evidence in its favor. Its intrinsic purity, and powerful efficacy exhibit another convincing testimony of its divine authority. All these considerations, with many more that might be mentioned, go to establish the truth of our holy religion.
But the best evidence which a man can have on this subject is his own experience. Of this evidence, the apostle speaks in the text, “ He that believeth on the Son of God hath the witness in himself.” From this declaration of the inspired apostle, it
VOL. VII.—No. 10.
appears, that in his view there is something peculiar in the char. acter and qualifications of a believer, in relation to this subject, which it is important for us to consider. Before we proceed any farther, therefore, in this discussion, we shall endeavor to explain some of the distinguishing characteristics of the true believer. What then is a believer?
î A believer is one whose understanding has been enlightened by the Word of God. The Word of God is a light which shineth in a dark place, and although the darkness frequently comprehendeth it not, it has an enlightening influence on the minds of all who follow its direction. It is a powerful instrument, which the Holy Spirit uses, to produce deep and lasting impressions on the human understanding and heart. It was given by the inspiration of the Almighty, for our instruction in righteousness, and is able to make us wise unto salvation. And wherever the Word of God is faithfully preached, and diligently heard, it is made to produce these effects. It has a wonderful efficacy in leading men out of darkness, and bringing them to the light. This the believer has experienced. His understanding has been enlightened by the Word of God. It has produced an astonishing change in his mind. Once he was entirely ignorant of its truths, he refused either to read or hear it, because he was prejudiced against it, he was blind to its beautiful simplicity, and had no taste for its interesting descriptions. But since he has carefully read and seriously meditated upon it, all this ignorance and blindness has been removed, these prejudices have vanished from his mind, and he can now clearly see his folly and wickedness, in neglecting it so long. He has discovered many truths in the Bible, of which he was formerly entirely ignorant, or had a very imperfect idea. He has discovered that he is a sinner, who has broken God's law, and deserves its punishment. He has seen his danger and felt his guilt and misery under the dominion of sin, and the influence of an evil and corrupt nature.
He has viewed himself as ex