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TO THE READER.
HE following Difcourfes were originally de
figned for private circulation in a particular parish. Being written for that purpose, their accommodation to the existing state of that parish constituted of course the principal object in view. Should therefore some parts of the fubject be more dilated, than may be thought neceffary for general information; or fome circumftances noticed which might have been omitted; the candid reader will, it is hoped, make allowance for what on these accounts may be an unwelcome trefpafs upon his time. Thus much be proper to say in behalf of the Discourses
As an excufe, if excufe be neceffary, for the alteration of my plan in giving them to the public, I have to plead, that upon their revifal for the prefs, they were judged to convey fome information applicable to the general circumftances of Chriftians in this
country; and that new books, though containing nothing fresh upon the fubjects of which they treat, will be read; whilst old ones, more fraught with information, lie useless on the shelf.
The Postscripts fubjoined to the Discourses must fpeak for themselves; because they were written for the purpose to which they are applied.
Upon the fubject of Establishments I have nothing to unfay. Upon this fubject I have written as I have been always taught to think. An uniformity of fentiment on great and momentous fubjects constitutes a criterion, by which the thinking honest man will ever be distinguished. The oppofite infirmity (if it may be called by so soft a name) will, I trust, never attach itself to my character. From the reader who differs from me in opinion, I have only, therefore, to crave that candour which, I trust, I shall on all occafions be ready to return.
"Errare poffum, litigiofus effe non volo."
To write upon ecclefiaftical fubjects without cenfure, is what no author muft expect. The chief fource, therefore, from which his fatisfaction must be derived, will be the fincerity of his intention. To promote in any degree the honour of GoD by preferving the unity of the church, is an object which