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To her Grace, the most Noble, moft Virtuous, and Religious Lady, Elizabeth, Lady Dutchels of Somerfet..
May it please your Grace,
HE kind Acceptance which my former Difcourfe upon this Subject found at your Graces hands, bath given me Encouragement and Confidence to prefix your great Name to this; which indeed fhould have been prefented to your Noble Patronage long ago,but that the late Controverfies with the Romanifts (wherein I thought my felf bound to take my share) and a great many unexpected Accidents fince, have hitherto bindred me from bringing it even to that little Perfection wherein it now appears... Befides, Madam, the Subject being altogether Practical and directive of the Confcience, a little time was not enongh for that Confideration and Care, which a matter of Such a tender and weighty Nature must require, eSpecially fince my defign from the beginning, was, not only to inform Communicants, but moreover to lend fuch Affiftance to all others, A 2 in
in order to a right understanding of their Duty, as I hoped might Jerve to promote the great Ends of Christianity in general. To this purpofe, I have fomewhat largely and particularly difcourfed of these things which concern all forts and ranks of Chriftians, as Faith, Repentance, Charity, and Perseverance; to which I thought fit to add in the laft place, a fort Platform of a Christian Life, collected out of the Holy Scriptures, and digefted into little, that every one may fee, as it were at one view, the Nature, Excellence, and Eafness of that Univerfal Obedience which the New Covenant exacteth at all our Hands and all this I refolved and endeavoured to do in fuch a plain and clear manner, that I might be ferviceable to those of the most ordinary and vulgar Capacities, becaufe they need Instructions most of all.
I confess, Madam, that in saying this, I feem to have made, an Objection against my felf, as to this Dedication; and fear that all those who have the Honour to know your Grace, will be ftartled to fee a little Book, intended for ordinary Capacities, prefented to a Perfon of Juch eminent Parts and Judgment, as well as Quality. But I hope the wonder will ceafe, when once it is confidered,that the whole defign of this Prece being to excite and quicken Men to a ferious Practice of Religion, I could not but look upon it as your Graces due
were there no other reason but this, that your Grace is a great Example of Virtue and a truly Chriftian Life in all particulars; which, God be thanked, I can very fafely affirm and tell the whole World, without the leaft guilt of Flattery. But befides, Madam, my Perfonal Obligations to both your Graces, for your great and continual Favours to me and mine, and the tenderness you are pleafed to fhew as daily, do challenge from me all poffible Expreffions of Honour, and dutiful Affection; and all too little, I am fure; not any thing indeed in comparison of that Service which I fhould, and with all my Heart would do, were it in my Power. Among Some Difcouragements I have met with in the World, I blefs God the great comfort of my life is, that I enjoy fo plentiful a fhure of your Graces goodness, with all Freedom and Gratitude I acknowledge my felf to be in that refpect, as happy a Man as lives, The Station I am now in, I was unexpectly put into by the defire of both your Graces, and by your Zealous Applications to fome great Friends, who could have no other reafon to, confider me but for the fake of your Graces, whom they were ready to gratifie for your being fuch true Friends and Ornaments to our Church, and the whole Proteftant Religion. Tour thus tranfplanting me into your Gracès own Neighbourhood, as it was an argument
of the most kind Intentions, that I should Spring and thrive afresh under the influence of your Favour; So is it a mighty Advan tage to my Miniftry, which is now affifted with fuch Noble Comments upon Christianity, and Examples of it, as may prove more operative than any Difcourfes of mine. Upon thefe Accounts, Madam, all the labours I can bestow, can be but fo many Expreffions of Thankfulness; which I humbly intreat both your Graces to accept of, being all that I can tender, befides my earneft Supplications to Almighty God, evermore to continue and encreafe his Goodness to your Graces and your Noble Iffue; and to enrich you with all the Bleffings of Heaven and Earth; which is, Madam, the daily Affectionate Prayer of
Petworth, Your Graces moft Humble,
Faithful, and Obedient
Servant and Chaplain,