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Rev. THOMAS BECON,
CHAPLAIN TO ARCHBISHOP CRANMER, AND PREBENDARY OF CANTERBURY.
FIRST AMERICAN EDITION.
PRESBYTERIAN BOARD OF PUBLICATION.
PAUL T. JONES, PUBLISHING AGENT.
TO THE AMERICAN EDITION.
The valuable work here presented to the Christian public is a reprint of the London edition, and comprehends the most valuable writings of the English Reformers. Their excellence has been generally appreciated, and their republication in the United States, where they are rarely to be met with, must be regarded as an auspicious event, as it may serve to diffuse and perpetuate those principles, in support of which the blood of the martyrs was shed, and for which the American Church is again called to contend. In presenting an exact reprint of the English edition, the Presbyterian Board of Publication do not wish to be considered as concurring in every form of expression or shade of sentiment to be found in these volumes. Their object is to present the Reformers as they appeared in their own writings, at a time when the church was just emerging
from papal darkness. Still they appreciate the sound argument, evangelical doctrine and fervent piety which generally characterize their religious writings and can commend them to the discriminating reader.
It affords the Board unfeigned pleasure to state, that they have been encouraged to engage in this enterprise, by the liberality of an esteemed friend who has engaged to assume the entire expense of stereotyping the work. The sum requisite to accomplish this was more than Five Thousand Dollars.
The whole work is comprised in Twelve volumes, although each volume is complete and distinct in itself.
As the reader may be anxious to know upon what principles the English edition was prepared, the following information on the subject is extracted from the Postscript to that edition.
“The following particulars will explain the manner in which this work has been carried through the press. The pieces contained therein are without abridgment, unless where expressly mentioned. There are a few omissions which are necessary in a publication intended to be generally circulated, and to be useful at the present day. In other editions, the obsolete spelling has been laid aside, the
same plan is pursued in the present publication; the involved construction of sentences, common in writers of that period, has also been removed. Those words which have become unintelligible or offensive, are exchanged for others, or are explained by notes when it is desirable that they should be retained. These variations, if they may be so called, were as necessary to render this work generally useful, as the adoption of modern orthography. The utmost care has been taken that the meaning of the author should be strictly preserved, and the various pieces have been collated with the best and earliest editions, or with manuscript copies. This has been done, that the meaning of the author might be given as nearly as possible, not from the first editions being the most correct, as they often abound with errors, for which the hurried or careless manner in which they were for the most part passed through the press, will readily account.
The present reprints, it is believed, will be found to present the most correct text of these writers that has hitherto appeared. More than half of the pieces included in this collection, have not been reprinted since the sixteenth century, and a considerable portion is now printed for the first time.”
The Volumes included under the title of