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RIGHT REVEREND FATHER IN GOD,
LORD BISHOP OF NORWICH.
WHEN I read the excellent Discourses you have given to the Public, I feel as if the world could not want any thing of the same kind from myself; and I consider your Lordship as one of the last persons to whom I ought to offer them. But, as they come abroad in consequence of your own advice to the Author, which, as you are now become my Diocesan, has the force of a command, they are sure of a favourable reception from yourself; and I am persuaded they will, on that account, be better received by the Public.
In my late Lectures on the Figurative Language of the Holy Scriptures, I have carried the apostolical mode of interpreting them as far as I thought it needful; and have laid down rules from the scripture itself, by the observation of which, good and learned men may carry it much farther. I have therefore omitted, for the present, the publication of many discourses of the expository kind, which I have by me, and have confined myself chiefly to such subjects as tend to make the Christian wiser and happier, and more useful in the conduct of his life.
This Dedication was prefixed to the two Volumes of Sermons published in the life-time of the Bishop.
I have followed your Lordship's judgment in the choice of one moral subject with which these volumes are concluded*; and I wish young men of fortune would consider it for themselves, as earnestly as I have considered it for them.
Every age hath its favourite errors; to which fashion gives dignity and influence. When these come in my way, I never spare them: yet I endeavour to correct them as mildly and prudently as I can. But when I say this, I am sensible there is an Author, whose happy manner and temper, on such occasions, few will be able to equal, or even to imitate.
The present time gives me an opportunity of congratulating the Church of England on the addition of such a Prelate to the already-excellent and learned bench of English Bishops: and it would be criminal in me, if I were not to add my own to the general voice of the Public, on this occasion.
That there may be in the diocese the same disposition, as there will be in your Lordship to promote the peace, piety, and edification of all orders of people in it, is the wish, and shall be the prayer of,
Your Lordship's ever-obliged Friend,
And devoted humble Servant,
NAYLAND, May 30, 1790.
The Sermons above alluded to are the 13th and 14th in the 4th