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This certifies, that the Rev. H. Jones has labored among my people as expressed above, and with similar results as it respects my own impressions and views, and those of my people.
WM. J. BOARDMAN, Pastor Congregational Chh Northford, Ct., April 9, 1839.
Rev. Mr. Jones has delivered one lecture to my people, which excited much interest among them, and met with my cordial approbation. L. GRIGGS, Pastor Cong. Chh.
North Haven, Ct., April 10, 1839.
The Rev. Henry Jones, the bearer, appears from the testimonials he carries, and from the acquaintance I have had with him, to be a man of pious, humble and amiable character; a great friend and prayerful student of the Bible: eminently scriptural in his preaching and conversation; and deeply engaged in the important object of awakening the public attention to the steady and systematic reading of the Holy Scriptures.
He carries, moreover, for sale, a treatise from his own pen, on the interpretation of the Scriptures, which exhibits great knowledge of the sacred volume; and is well calculated to enlist the christian mind profitably in the highly important study. JOHN FORD, Pastor Pres. Chh.
Parsippany, N. J., July 8, 1839.
Having had nearly a week's acquaintance with the Rev. Mr. Jones, and heard several of his lectures, and paid some attention in the mean time to his published treatise on the principles of interpretation, I can unhesitatingly subscribe to the above recommendation of Mr. Ford. And from the knowledge I have of Mr. Jones, his character, manner, and object,—his prudence, piety and consistency, I should cheerfully welcome his further labors among my congregation, and bid him God-speed wherever else he may be called.
R. F. CLEAVELAND, Pastor Pres. Chh. Caldwell, N. J., July, 1839.
N. B. Several other ministers of the different orders in New-York, Connecticut, and Pennsylvania, have furnished testimony of the above character and on the same points.
THE undersigned, ministers of the Gospel and Christian editors of the city of New-York, recommend to our brethren generally, in the ministry, and other friends of the Bible, the adoption of some plan by which to secure, as far as may be, a general interest among the people of their parish or connection, in the daily study of the Holy Scriptures, which shall be equal at least to reading them through once a year.
The printed plan* of doing it, which is hereunto annexed, giving more variety and interest to many readers, both parents and children, than a more successive course, strikes us favorably. We would, therefore, suggest to those editors who may harmonize with these views, the utility of publishing in their several papers this printed plan, in such a form as will be likely to give their readers the most advantage of it in their thus reading the Bible through; and also, of opening their columns, to some practicable extent, for appropriate communications on the subject, which we trust the friends of the Bible will occasionally furnish.
In regard to those who may not be able to procure a copy of this plan, and yet would join in reading the Bible through yearly, we would suggest the plan of their going carefully through it by course, from Genesis to Revelation, until a better one can be obtained; reading three chapters a day on week days, and five on the Sabbath, which will finish the work once a year.
In case of others who are already studying, or prepared to study the Bible more thoroughly and profitably than can be done by either of these plans, it will be understood, that these suggestions are rather designed for the benefit of others, not yet thus prepared for the study of the sacred volume.
New-York, March 13, 1838.
SIGNED by 70 ministers and christian editors of NewYork, 46 of Philadelphia, and many elsewhere, of 12 or 15 different denominations.
This "Plan" is too long for insertion here.
RESOLVED, That we highly approve of the published Recommendation and "Plan" of more than 100 ministers of the cities of New-York and Philadelphia, in behalf of the daily study of the Holy Scriptures, which plan is "equal at least to reading them through once a year."
Adopted by the General Association of N. Y., (Congregational,) at their session, at Brighton, Munroe Co., Aug. 21, 1839.
A true copy. Attest,
SAMUEL GRISWOLD, Scribe.
The general and profitable study and use of the Holy Bible, has been a ruling object of pursuit in preparing this work, rather than the presentation of a favorite theory on a particular subject, as some may have done who have written on prophecy. A call is seemingly made for such undertakings, from the long standing dreadfully fallen condition of the church, as to her spirituality, or vital godliness, while her enemies, with the god of this world, are greatly prevailing, and exalting themselves to the heights of heaven in pride and rebellion against the Most High. These evils appear to have resulted, in a great measure, if not wholly, from a want of the Bible really used as "the sword of the Spirit," in the church, in their warfare, which is not carnal, but spiritual"-" not against flesh and blood, but "against spiritual wickedness in high places."
It is believed, that while the church shall continue to make so little use of the Bible as her special means of grace, she will remain cast down and trodden under foot, prophesying only "in sackcloth." It is also believed, that if she will awake from her long midnight slumbers, and betake herself to the word of God, as did the first christians, she may then, in answer to her co-operating prayers,
receive the gift of the Holy Ghost-put on the armor of God, and become powerful against her enemies as an army with banners.
Under these circumstances, surely, we might look for the sudden and powerful preaching of the everlasting Gospel to all nations, kindreds, people and tongues, with the general pouring out of the Spirit of God, as foretold by the prophets of the Old and New Testaments; which must be done to prepare the way for the glorious coming of the Son of man in his kingdom.
"THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN AT HAND," is made the leading subject of these discourses, not as something novel, and convenient for speculation, but rather, First, On account of its having been apparently more neglected in the general preaching of the Gospel, for ages past, than any other subject of such vital interest. Secondly. Because it appears to the writer to have been the all-absorbing and most awakening subject of discussion in the preaching of Christ, and the inspired teachers before and after him. Thirdly. Because, from having made this, more or less, a subject of public discussion, to a considerable extent in various congregations, for two years past, I am confident of calling more attention to the word of God with it; and doing more towards effecting the great object in view, than should I take a different subject in the short compass now before me. And, Fourthly, Because it has appeared that there is more popular error on this subject than on any other, which greatly divests the church of her spiritual armor, and hinders the otherwise natural power of the word to awaken, convert, and save the souls of lost men.
I have chosen the EXPOSITORY MANNER of presenting the great subject in these discourses, not for the sake of peculiarity or innovation, but, First, Because of having tried the experiment of thus presenting divine truth, for some years past, I am in hopes of effecting more in my object of promoting the profitable study of the Bible in this way, than by pursuing the present more popular course of laboring to edify without exposition. Secondly, Because it appears to have been the only method of exhibiting the power and spirituality of the Bible, and impressing it on the conscience by God's ministers, whose methods of
preaching are shown us in the scriptures. And, Thirdly, Because I have even hoped, that by this humble attempt at exposition, simple and destitute of every species of human adorning, many others, more efficient in the holy profession, might be provoked, in their love and good works, more thoroughly and successfully to adopt and prosecute the ancient and pungent method of preaching and expounding the Gospel of the kingdom.
The BREVITY observed in these discourses, in the discussion of many important things, is for the purpose of saving the time and expense of the reader, and to afford more advantages for the general searching of the scriptures in the shortest compass, in his gradually leaving human helps in searching altogether.
In regard to the general DOCTRINE OF THE KINGDOM, as presented in these discourses, the writer is aware of deviating from the long beaten track of our modern fathers in some very important points. To this course he feels that he has been driven, not from a love of differing in sentiment from superiors, nor a desire of being accounted on earth as a reformist, but from the force of divine truth, in studying more faithfully than before, the "First principles of the oracles of God," by which to make the Bible its own interpreter.
Wherein my POSITIONS shall be found DIFFERENT from those generally received on the same question, they are offered only with the kindest feelings, with much diffidence, and a becoming respect to the views and feelings of good men who may differ from them, asking, also, the favor of kindness in return; for, with kind feelings, those who differ in sentiment may the sooner unite their views; while even those most in agreement in theory, are naturally made to think differently from each other by the spirit of disaf fection.
But, as it respects the author's private interests, or reputation, in a state of mortality, he feels that he has none in prospect to gain or to lose; and that, so far as such comparative trifles are concerned, it matters not how much, or how little public favor shall be shown him in regard to the work now offered; professing rather the heart fixed on treasures and honors of the kingdom at hand, which