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as I am sure many hundreds there did, would read them with peculiar pleasure and improvement: And the happy disposition prevailing in the young persons of that congregation to which he belonged, to associate themselves together for religious purposes, in hours when these sermons will give them a delightful employment, has further encouraged this hope.
As to the particular reasons which determined me to chuse these discourses, and to omit others which some of his friends desired to see, it is not material to enter into them. I had not time to read all; and therefore took generally those, of which there was not a large number upon a single text, and those which had been most blessed to the good of souls; some of which I had heard myself, and had peculiarly struck my mind.
What I have done in reviewing them, was but little. I have here and there added a clause, and very seldom, a sentence or two by way of illustration. I have also corrected the style a little in some places: Sometimes I have contracted a period, which seemed rather too diffuse; and in one place abridged two sermons into one. But I have made no essential or very material alterations at all, either by way of omission or addition: And the greatest liberty I have taken with any, is used with re. spect to the last. That sermon I myself heard, and it impressed me exceedingly. I afterwards found, that it was the first plan of some discourses, branched out into a considerable number at Taunton. I could not publish them all; and I was so well pleased with what I had heard, that I could not persuade myself to omit it. I was therefore obliged to have recourse to those notes, which I had taken while he was preaching ; which were generally short hints of sentences, only setting down a few particular expressions, the beauty and energy of which struck me with some peculiar pleasure. The consequence is, that here, though the whole scheme and almost all the thoughts are Mr. Steffe’s, the language is often my own. I could much rather have given it to the world in the very words of the author: But as that was impossible; and as on account of throwing two of those transcribed from his notes into one, we wanted another sermon to make up the number proposed ; I verily thought, I could not do better than to present it to the world as it is; at least without employing too much time in reviewing and comparing those few single sermons, which might have been considered as proper upon this occasion: And the great pleasure with which my friends bad attended upon this sermon, and recollect in general the remembrance of it, engaged me to oblige them with this
opportunity of reviewing it, for which I am sure of their thanks.
Nothing further remains, but to commit these discourses to the attentive perusal of all into whose hands Providence may bring them, especially of those to whom the author was dear by any peculiar bonds, and to the blessing of that God, with regard to whose honour, I am well satisfied, they were first composed, and are now published.
COURSE OF LECTURES
THE PRINCIPAL SUBJECTS
REFERENCES TO THE MOST CONSIDERABLE AUTHORS
ON EACH SUBJECT.
TO WHICH ARE NOW ADDED,
MANY ORIGINAL NOTES.
FROM Dr. DODDRIDGE's life prefixed to the first volume of this edition of his works, as well as from the first editor's advertisement, it appears, that the author had bestowed upon these Lectures no small share of his time and attention, and that he designed to have them published. But whatever advantage may be derived by a student, while engaged in the laboratory of investigation, from the mathematical form in which they were originally composed and afterwards published, it may be justly questioned whether this uncommon mode be not calculated, from an appearance of stiffness, to deter the greater number even of inquisitive readers from perusing them; yet, to deviate much from the original aspect would frustrate, in some degree, the author's design, and, for that reason, prove to the judicious reader unsatisfactory.
The method now adopted, it is hoped, will be found a just medium, in which are preserved the chief uses of the author's arrangement and terms, with as little offence as possible to the eye of a reader unaccustomed to such a page. All the references contained in the first edition are preserved; but at the bottom of the page, as much more pleasant to the eye, and not less convenient. To these are now added many others, some of which are taken from Dr. Kippis's edition, in the form of notes.
Though many important points of theology are discussed in these Lectures, the reader should not expect, what was never intended by the author, a complete body of divinity. Of such publications there are many, truly excellent and comprehensive; among which we may venture to recommend the admirable work of FranCISCUS TURRETINUs entitled Institutio Theologia Elencticæ, and The Lectures of Dr. THOMAS RIDGLEY on the Assembly's Larger Catechism, instar omnium. But the present work claims more originality of design, and used judiciously may answer a very valuable end.
Were the present Editors to hazard a sentiment on the principal advantage that may be derived from this work, they