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THE present edition of Dr. South's Sermons consists of three distinct parts. The first four volumes, containing seventy-two discourses, correspond with the first six volumes of the preceding editions, each of which volumes contains twelve discourses. The last three volumes, with the exception of the appendix to the seventh volume, contain the posthumous discourses, some account of which is given in the advertisement to the fifth volume. The appendix to the seventh volume contains the three sermons published by Edmund Curll, with the Life of the author, in the year 1717. The Life is prefixed to the first volume of the present edition.
LIFE AND WRITINGS
DR. ROBERT SOUTH,
LATE PREBENDARY OF WESTMINSTER, CANON OF CHRIST
WHEN men crowned with age and honour, and worn out with the exercise of the most adorable virtues, go down to the grave; when learning, piety, sincerity, and courage, with them, seem to be gathered to their fathers, and almost every one of them, without a due recognition of their bright examples who gave us their survey, must cease to be any more; it would be an act of the highest injustice not to set them in their fairest light, that posterity may look upon them with the same eyes of admiration which the present age has paid their regards with; and that it may not be in the power of the teeth of time to wear out the impressions that shall pass undefaced from one generation to another.
It is with this view, and only with this, that the author of these memoirs, who has long known the value of the subject he is writing upon, and from thence must be apprised of the difficulty of doing it as he ought, takes them jn hand; being not without hopes, that he may in some measure prevent the many common biographers, who gather about a dead corpse, like ravens about their prey, and croak out insults against their memory, whilst they either praise them
for actions they have not done, or load them with disgrace and infamy for what they never committed: insomuch that, in Procopius of Cæsarea's words, "their relations are no66 thing else but their interests, delivering down, not what 66 they know, but what they are inclined to."
The same author likewise very justly observes, "that as eloquence becomes an orator, and fables are proper for poets, so truth is that which an historian ought chiefly to follow, and have in regard;" therefore my readers are neither to expect embellishments of art, nor flourishes of rhetoric.
Non tali auxilio, nec defensoribus istis
There is no need of such assistances to support me, while I go through with the character of a man that was arrived at the highest pitch of knowledge in the studies of all manner of divine and human literature: a man who, in the words of the Son of Sirach, gave his mind to the law of the most High, and was occupied in the meditation thereof: who sought out the wisdom of all the ancients, and who kept the sayings of the renowned men, and where subtle parables were, there was he also. A man, who sought out the secrets of grave sentences, who served among great men, and appeared before princes : who travelled throughout strange countries, for he had tried the good and the evil among men. In a word, a man that gave his heart to resort early to the Lord that made him, and prayed before the most High. Who was filled with the spirit of understanding, and poured out wise sentences: so that many shall commend his understanding: and so long as the world endureth, it shall not be blotted out.
May it suffice then that I account for the birth of this great man in the year 1633, when the artifices of wicked and designing sectarists against the established government in church and state, that broke out at last into the grand rebellion, made it necessary that so bright an assertor of both, as he proved afterwards, should arise. He was the son of Mr. South, an eminent merchant in London, and born at Hackney, of a mother whose maiden name was Berry,