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TO THE HONORABLE AND RIGHT REV.
HENRY RYDER, D. D.
LORD BISHOP OF LICHFIELD AND COVENTRY.
If these Sermons strictly corresponded with the title prefixed to them, I should present them to your Lordship with but little diffidence. They might still be without any recommendations to general favor and attention, but their character would secure for them your approbation.
Appointed the minister of a country parish, it has been my wish, as well as my duty, to break through trains of thought and modes of expression, which a long residence in a somewhat different situation had made familiar to me, and to adapt my language and ideas to the congregation of a village church. If I have not succeeded in attaining these objects, my failure has not been the result of indifference, or of a shrinking from effort. I have not delivered to my parishioners sermons which have cost me nothing; nor am I conscious of having had any other end in view in the composition of them, than that of expressing the weighty truths they contain, with plainness and force.
My anxiety on this point may have been excessive. It may still be derogatory to the greatness of Him, without whom simplicity is as powerless as the most adorned rhetoric, and who can make even this humble volume an instrument of unspeakable blessedness to the least cultivated reader into whose hands he may suffer it to fall.
Its appearance before the public in connection with your name, would have been to me, under any circumstances, a source of no ordinary pleasure, but I must now attach to this distinction a peculiar value, since it affords me an opportunity of openly acknowledging the kindness, which has placed me in the number of those who are indebted for the stations they hold in the church, to your Lordship's unsolicited patronage.
I am, my Lord,
Your most obliged and obedient Servant,
The Widow's Son Restored to Life.