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has brought matters to a state far beyond all our hopes.

But amidst the laurels that adorn You, and those applauses that do every where follow You, suffer me, GREAT Sir, in all humility to tell You, that your work is not yet done, nor your glory complete, till You have en). ployed that power which God has put in your hands, and before which nothing has been able hitherto to stand, in the supporting and securing this Church, in the bearing down Infidelity and Impiety, in the healing the wounds and breaches that are made among those who do in common profess this Faith, but are unhappily disjointed and divided by some differences that are of less importance : and, above all things, in the raising the power and efficacy of this Religion, by a suitable reformation of our lives and manners.

How much soever men's hearts are out of the reach of human authority, yet their lives, and all outward appearances, are governed by the example and influences of their Sovereigns.

The effectual pursuing of these designs, as it is the greatest of all those glories of which mortals are capable; so it seems to be the only thing that is now wanting, to finish the brightest and perfectest character that will be in history.

It was in order to the promoting these ends, that I undertook this Work; which I do now most humbly lay before Your MAJESTY, with the profoundest respect and submission.

May God preserve Your MAJESTY, till You have gloriously finished what You have so wonderfully carried on. All that You have hitherto set about, how small soever the beginnings and hopes were, has succeeded in your hands, to the amazement of the whole world: the most desperate face of affairs has been able to give You no stop.

Your MAJESTY seems born under an ascendant of Providence; and therefore, how low soever all our hopes are, either of raising the power of Religion, or of uniting those who profess it; yet we have been taught to despair of nothing that is once undertaken by Your MAJESTY.

This will secure to You the blessing of the present and of all succeeding ages, and a full reward in that glorious and immortal state that is before You : to which, that Your MAJESTY may have a sure, though a late admittance, is the daily and most earnest prayer of,

May it please Your MAJESTY,
Your Majesty's most loyal,
most obedient, and most
devoted Subject and Servant,


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It has been often reckoned among the things that were wanting, that we had not a full and clear explanation of the Thirty-nine Articles, which are the sum of our doctrine, and the confession of our faith, The modesty of some, and the caution of others, may have obliged them to let alone an undertaking, that might seem too assuming for any man to venture on, without a command from those who had authority to give it. It has been likewise often suggested, that those Articles seemed to be so plain a transcript of St. Austin's doctrine, in those much disputed points, concerning the Decrees of God, and the Efficacy of Grace, that they were not expounded by our Divines for that very reason; since the far greater number of them is believed to be now of a different opinion.

I should have kept within the same bounds, if I had not been first moved to undertake this work by that great Prelate, who then sate at the helm : and after that, determined in it by a command that was sacred to me by respect, as well as by duty. Our late Primate lived long enough to see the design finished. He read it over with an exactness that was peculiar to him. He employed some weeks wholly in perusing it, and he corrected it with a care that descended even to the smallest matters ; and was such as he thought became the importance of this work. And when that was done, he returned it to me with a letter, that, as it was the last I ever had from him, so it gave the whole such a cha

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racter, that how much soever that might raise its value with true judges, yet in decency it must be suppressed by me, as being far beyond what any performance of mine could deserve. He gave so favourable an account of it to our late blessed Queen, that she was pleased to tell me, she would find leisure to read it: and the last time that I was admitted to the honour of waiting on her, she commanded me to bring it to her. But she was soon after that carried to the source, to the fountain of life, in whose light she now sees both light and truth. So great a breach as was then made upon all our hopes, put a stop upon this, as well as upon much greater designs.

This work has lain by me ever since: but has been often not only reviewed by myself, but by much better judges. The late most learned Bishop of Worcester read it very carefully. He marked every thing in it that he thought needed a review; and his censure was in all points submitted to. He expressed himself so well pleased with it to myself, and to some others, that I do not think it becomes me to repeat what he said of it. Both the most reverend Archbishops, with several of the Bishops, and a great many learned Divines, have also read it. I must, indeed, on many accounts own, that they may

be inclined to favour me too much, and to be too partial to me; yet they looked upon this work as a thing of that importance, that I have reason to believe they read it over severely: and if some small corrections may be taken for an indication that they saw no occasion for greater ones, I had this likewise from several of them.

Yet after all these approbations, and many repeated desires to me to publish it, I do not pretend to impose this upon the reader as the work of authority. For even our most reverend Metropolitans read it only as private divines, without so severe a canvassing of all particulars as must have been expected, if this had been intended to pass for an au

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