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RIGHT HONOURABLE AND HOPEFUL LORD,
ROBERT, EARL OF ESSEX,
MY SINGULAR GOOD LORD, ALL INCREASE OF GRACE AND TRUE
WHILST I desired to congratulate your happy return with some worthy present, I fell upon this: which I dare not only offer, but commend; the royallest Philosopher and wisest King, giving you those precepts, which the Spirit of God gave him.
The matter is all his: nothing is mine, but the method; which I do willingly submit to censure. In that, he could not err: in this, I cannot but have erred; either in art, or application, or sense, or disorder, or defect: yet not wilfully. I have meant it well, and faithfully to the Church of God; and to your Honour, as one of her great hopes.
If any man shall cavil, that I have gone about to correct Solomon's order, or to control Hezekiah's servants, I complain both of his charity and wisdom, and appeal to more lawful judgment. Let him as well say, that every concordance perverts the text. I have only endeavoured to be the common-place-book of that great King; and to refer his divine rules to their heads, for more ease of finding, for bet ter memory, for readier use.
See how that God, whose wisdom thought good to bereave mankind of Solomon's profound Commentaries of Nature, hath reserved these his Divine Morals to outlive the world: as knowing, that those would but feed man's curiosity; these would both direct his life, and judge it. He hath not done this, without expectation of our good, and glory to himself: which if we answer, the gain is ours.
I know how little need there is, either to entreat your Lordship's acceptation, or to advise your use. It is enough, to have humbly presented them to your hands; and, through them, to the Church, the desire of whose good is my good; yea, my recompence and glory.
The same God, whose hand hath led and returned you in safety, from all foreign evils, guide your ways at home, and graciously encrease you in the ground of all true honour, Goodness. My prayers shall ever follow you:
Who vow myself
in all humble and true duty,