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TO THE MOST REVEREND
BY DIVINE PROVIDENCE,
LORD ARCHBISHOP OF CANTERBURY,
PRIMATE OF ALL ENGLAND AND METROPOLITAN.
If I were disposed to consider the value of that portion of these volumes, which is the result of my own labour, I could not but feel that the laying them at your GRACE's feet would constitute a most inadequate acknowledgment of the gratitude which I owe to your Grace for many very great favours and benefits conferred upon me. In this view, there could be only one consolatory circumstance to sustain me; the knowledge that to you the homage
of all my efforts is due, be they great or little: and he therefore who is already engaged for all, may seem to be released from the necessity of satisfying himself of the worthiness of any particular offering.
But, my Lord, there are considerations of a different nature, from which I
permitted to tender these volumes to your Grace's favourable regard, without the hazard of being thought so ill to understand the nature and extent of my own obligations, and the dignity of your
The Lives of which this Collection is composed have already, the greater par of them, often obtained the praise of the wise and good, as calculated to promote, in a more than ordinary degree, the cause of pure taste, good morals, and true religion ; objects of infinite importance, for the prosperity of which, they who best know your Grace's unceasing cares and labours, may
be excused if they bear testimony, that every endeavour to extend those great blessings, has a peculiar title to come forth under your GRACE's protection,
The tendency which has been thus attributed to many
of these Lives individually, it was my hope would not be impaired, but augmented, by combining them into one series, and by the addition of the few illustrations with which they are here accompanied. If therefore I have not been deceived in this expectation, I cannot deny to myself the pleasing assurance, that the present Publication will be received by your Grace as an effort not uncongenial to your wishes, and, in however low a degree, subordinate to your own cares; and, as having afforded therefore, a not unsuitable engagement of a portion of such intervals of leisure, as I may have been able to obtain consistently with the demands of your
Grace's more immediate service, and of pas. toral labours.
Again: This likewise is to be acknowledged, that it is owing to your Grace not only that these Volumes exist at all, but also that they exist such as they are.
AII that is new in them comes by your GRACE's liberality and public spirit. Whatever pleasure then or profit any
of receive, especially from this part of my materials, it is fit that they should know that from the Archbishop of Canterbury the benefit is derived. And, at the same time, let it be further declared, that this is but a very humble instance of that love of good letters, and that public spirit, which have prompted your GRACE to the exertion of many acts of munificence, for the increase of the literary treasures of your country, which exalt your GRACE's name to the same level with those of the most illustrious of your predecessors, Cranmer, and Parker, and Laud.