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The Settler in New South Wales has quitted a country, where every facility is in general afforded to the resident in each of its parishes for religious instruction, by the continual presence and Ministrations of its appointed pastor. He has left a land, whose inhabitants possess that inestimable blessingthe full enjoyment of the means of grace, which tends in no slight degree, to keep in mind, and confirm the hope of glory. In the land of his adoption, such advantages are not yet fully developed. The number of parochial ministers has hitherto failed to keep pace with the increase of population, and the settlement of families in the interior. In Britain there can be no excuse for not attending Public Worship on the Sabbath-day. In New South Wales it is to be feared, that over by far the greater part of its located Territory, the want of the regular performances of Divince Service by the Clergy on the Sabbathday, is too frequently made an excuse for forgetting, or profaning it altogether.
It has fallen to the lot of the Author, to be appointed Chaplain in one of the most extensive and populous Districts in the Colony. Consequently his visits for the purpose of performing Divine Service, on the Sabbath-day, in the several stations under his charge ; some of them at a considerable distance from his residence, can be but few and far between. It therefore occurred to him, that were he to draw up a small Collection of Sermons, suited to the circumstances of the Prisoners in his Chaplaincy, to be given to them to read themselves, or to be read to them, with a portion of the Liturgy, by their Masters or Overseers, upon those Sundays, when he was not present amongst them; a desirable object would be gained. To the Shepherds and Stockmen also, on the several Farms, who were able to read, and who were far removed from a place of Public Worship, it was presumed, such a Work would not be an unacceptable present.
Under this impression therefore, the Author communicated his intention to the principal Landholders and Settlers in the several parts of his Cure; and from them his proposed undertaking met with the most cordial approval, many Copies of his Work having been immediately subscribed for.
And as private, no less than family prayer is not the least part of a Christian's duty, the Author has added in an Appendix, a Manual of Prayers for every Morning and Evening in the Week, with a Prayer for a Sick Person, and for one on his recovery, for the Prison Population under his own immediate notice.
The following Discourses, which, formed the substance of the subjects of the Author's Sermons delivered by him to the different Congregations at the several Stations of his Chaplaincy, will be found to be plain, and short-plain, in order to suit the understandings of those for whose benefit they are intended, and short, because addressed to those, who in general have but little facility in reading, and who would therefore be deterred from perusing them, had they been of greater length.
What therefore the Author has penned in this volume for the religious instruction and spiritual welfare of that portion of the Prison Population, scattered over the Districts of the Hunter, will, he trusts, be found equally adapted to meet the circumstances of the same description of characters in other parts of the Colony. To the prisoner in the gaol and hospital—in the iron-gang and road-party, as well as in private service, these Discourses and Prayers, it is hoped, will be calculated to administer as well admonition and timely warning as consolation
And should they prove to be the humble means under the blessing of God of turning only one thoughtless and abandoned sinner
from the error of his ways, to righteousness of life, the Author will think, that he has not written them in vain.
Newcastle, February 24, 1834.