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TO HER MAJESTY
Having received your gracious permission to dedicate this
work to Your Majesty, I offer it as an expression of dutiful allegiance,
and of loyal attachment, from one who earnestly prays, in submission to the
Highest Will, that the great purposes for which you hold your exalted
station, may continue to be faithfully and successfully carried on, under
your just and beneficent sway, when he, and others much younger than
himself, shall have been removed from the scenes of time.
For more than forty years it has been my endeavour to promote the
improvement of society, under the solemn responsibilities of religion, and
under the guidance of its sacred directions.
To observe this improvement
advancing as it has done for the last twenty years, and now to see the
aims of benevolence, in various directions, either actually achieved, or tending towards their full and effective accomplishment, is a high reward
to those who long laboured in hope and in faith. To many of these
persons, no external reward could ever have been in view; still less could
they have looked forward to a participation, under any change of
circumstances, in those distinctions and emoluments which it is in the
power of a Sovereign to bestow
Debarred by my profession, in connection with my religious opinions,
from sharing in those public advantages which services in education, and
other exertions for social welfare, frequently obtain, it was not perhaps
unreasonable that I should desire an honour which is wholly unconnected
with those advantages, and which Your Majesty has been graciously
pleased to confer.
On ascending the throne of these realms, Your Majesty made the joyinspiring declaration, that you would consult the welfare of all classes of your subjects. I am happy, as well as grateful, that, in granting the
permission which I sought, Your Majesty has shown that no religious
denomination among your subjects will be without a portion of that kind
consideration which you can manifest without compromising your own
individual convictions, and without interfering with those claims which
are given to others by the law of the land.
If the following Work had been founded upon, or had been intended to
teach, the distinctive opinions which I hold as a Unitarian Christian, I
would on no account have solicited the honour of dedicating it to Your
But I am fortified by the published statement of a Divine of
the Established Church, distinguished as a defender of its doctrines,
honoured by his scientific rank, and greatly esteemed for his personal
character, in representing my work as in no sense doctrinal in its nature.
If my own peculiarities of religious belief have ever biassed me in it, I am
not conscious of the fact. But, Madam, there is, as Divines of your own
Church have expressed it, a common Christianity; and my labours
in this volume have been directed to illustrate this, under the influence
of reverence and love for our common Saviour.
I hope it will be found,
as expressed by the American Reviewer quoted in my Preface, that “the
Author seems never to forget, and he never lets his reader forget, that it
is a holy record he is analyzing—the history of the Son of God that
he is illustrating.”
Of Your Majesty it may, I trust, be truly said, that "from a child you have known the Holy Scriptures,” and that you have cherished that sense of accountableness which they impress upon the faithful heart.
This will continually lead to the earnest contemplation of the character,
and to the self-application of the word, of him who is appointed to be the Judge of all; and should this volume prove of any aid to Your
Majesty, in those serious pursuits which are needed, by every one, to
prevent the undue influence of “the world which passeth away," it will
be reason for the deepest thankfulness.
I have the honour to be,
With grateful and dutiful regards,
Your Majesty's faithful subject,
August 25, 1838.