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of all England;
To whose kind Approbation of my Undertaking,
it was chiefly owing that I proceeded in it;
These DISCOURSES are,
With humble Gratitude,
And the bighest Respect,
Most obedient Servant,
P R E F A C E.
WHEN I firft proposed writing upon the im
portant Subječt of Prayer, it was objected that there was nothing new to be said upon it. Whether I have made any Improvement, I must leave to the Determination of my Readers; but, if I have added no new Materials to the old Stock, my Book, notwithstanding, may be more compleat than any yet extant on the Subject. Where fo many Persons of Ability bave written upon any Subject, they have excelled one another upon different Parts of it; and, therefore, if any one bas Judgment enough to select their peculiar Excellencies, and connect them bandsomely together, their united Beauties 'must excel any one of those Books out of which they are collected.
Another. Advantage new Books have over old ones from the Curiosity of Mankind. The World is more inquifitive into the Merit of modern Performances, and more inclined to look into them, than to enquire after those which have been long, like a dead Man, out of Mind. Books are like Fashions ; when they become old, (unless they be superlatively Exceilent, and the Authors of supereminent Reputation) they are laid aside. The Ma-, terials
may be the same, but the Dress muft be altered, or they will be thought awkward,
This is an Advantage that is cwing to the Taste of the World; but there is a real and substantial one, which has its Foundation in Reason. Modern Books may not only be better adapted to the prevailing Gust of the Reader, but to the CircumItances, and Exigences of the Times. The Enem mies of Religion and Virtue, like the military Gentlemen, are perpetually inventing new Weapons, new Evolutions, new Methods of Attack, which will require a suitable Alteration in our Arts of Defence.
I shall mention but one Advantage more, and that arises from the Disposition of the Parts, wberein the last Writer may excel by the Asistance of bis Predecessors. Much Strength and Perspicuity depend upon this bappy Arrangement ; as in a Picture, where there is a Group of Figures, they must all be placed in such an advantageous Situation, that they may throw Light and Lustre upon each otber. By the Help of these Observations let my
Read ers judge and try my Book ; but, as I write with Freedom, let them judge with Candor.
There are two Things more that will be expected from this Preface ; viž. an account of the Additions that are made to the original Dengn, and wby the Publication of these Discourses has been fo long delayed.
The Sermon upon the one thing needful, and those upon the Sunday, bad the good Luck to make so considerable an Impression upon many Perfons, that I could not belp thinking them worth preserving from the common Fate of ftitcht Things;