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LORD AND LADY BARHAM,
WITHOUT ANY OF THAT ADULATION,
AUTHOR TO DESPISE HIMSELF,
AS A SMALL TESTIMONY TO PERSONAL AMIABLENESS,
DOMESTIC VIRTUE, AND EVANGELICAL RELIGION:
AS A LIVELY EXPRESSION OF HOPE,
THAT THEIR OFFSPRING MAY CALL THEIR PARENTS BLESSED, IN
FOLLOWING THEIR EXAMPLE:
AS A GRATEFUL ACKNOWLEDGMENT OF THE
INSTANCES OF THEIR FRIENDSHIP, WITH WHICH HE HAS
AS AFFORDING AN OPPORTUNITY
TO SUBSCRIBE HIMSELF THUS PUBLICLY, WITH EVERY
SENTIMENT OF RESPECT AND ESTEEM,
AND HER LADYSHIP's
OBLIGED AND HUMBLE SERVANT,
Bath; Dec. 26th, 1828.
A publication is not rendered improper or need. less, because works of a similar nature have preceded it. Little would ever issue from the press, if such a principle were admitted. For what new thing is there under the sun ? Neither is an author in this case supposed to undervalue the labours of those who have gone before him. He only adds to their number, with his own probabilities of excitement. And he may awaken fresh attention in the minds even of those who have made use of his predecessors : while he may fall into the hands of some who have to begin this kind of reading. Every author, too, has not only his own connexions, but his own manner; and thus, as the tastes of readers vary, more can be gratified.
The following pages, it is believed, will be found to differ a little from works of the same species; especially in making the exercises always express more fully the import of the textual motto at the head of them; in the arrangement of a greater diversity of subjects; in the selection of more passages from the less observed and less improved parts of Scripture ; and in the seizure of hints of instruction from the more indirect and incidental strokes of the Sacred Penmen.
The work has, in some measure, been its own reward: but it required the author to sacrifice almost needful repose and relaxation, in seizing every spare moment from the engrossing duties of a large and important station. And the work was, he confesses, much more arduous in the execution than he had apprehended in the prospect. The chief difficulty arose from the necessity of so much compression and brevity. It was found no easy thing, in two or three pages, not only to secure the spirit of the passage; but to give it some illustration and effect, by glimpses of scenery, and glances at historical facts and traits of character—where diffusion and particularity were forbidden. While he makes no scruple to avow that this was his wish and design, he laments sincerely that he has not more perfectly succeeded in accomplishing them. Leisure, and an exclusive dedication of himself to the plan, for some months, or