Contemplations moral and divine / by a person of great learning and judgment.

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moved me to desire their publication, so I was verily perswaded, and as well assured as I could be in any writings of my own, and that not upon my opinion only, but upon the judgment of others also, that nothing liable to exception doth ocurr in them, or any thing considerable that is questionable, which hath not other approved authors who say the same: and the truth is, the subject of them is such as is not like to afford much matter of that nature; these being Moral and Practical things, whereas they are for the most part matters of Speculation, and of curious (I had almost said presumptuous) and unnecessary, if not undeterminable Speculation, which make the great stirrs, and are the matter and occasions of greatest controversie, especially among them of the Reformed Religion. And thought these Writings never underwent the last Hand or Pencil or the Judicious Author, and therefore, in respect of that perfection which he could have given to them, be not altogether so compleat as otherwise they might have been; yet if we consider them in themselves, or with respect to the Writings which are daily published, even of learned men, and published by the Authors themselves, these will be found to be such as may not only very well pass in the croud, but such as are of no vulgar or common strain. The Subjects of them indeed are common Themes, but yet such as are

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of most weight and moment in the Life of Man, and of greatest concernment; as in Nature those things, which are of greatest use and concernment, are most common. But the matter of his Meditations upon these subjects is not common: For as he is a man that Thinks closely and deeply of things, not after a common rate, so his Writings, his most ex tempore Writings, have a certain Genius and Energie in them much above the common rate of Writers. And though these were written ex tempore, and in such manner as hath been said before, yet the matter of them is for the most such, as he had before well digested, and, as a Scribe instructed to the Kingdom of Heaven, had treasured up in his heart, and out of this good treasure of his heart and the abundance of it he produceth these good things; things which he looked upon as of greatest concern, and most worth his serious consideration, and had accordingly weighed and considered. And for the Stile, it is suitable to the Matter, Significant, Perspicuous and Manly; his Words are Spirit and Life, and carry Evidence and Demonstration with them, Moral and Experimental Demonstration: Vox non ex ore, sed ex pectore emissa. And if we take these Writings all together, and weigh them duly and candidly, without any vain humour of critical and pedantick censoriousness, we may therein no less

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The Preface.

observe the worth and excellence of their Author, especially considering in what manner they were written, than in his more elaborate Works: and being written and published in thi manner they do more evidently demonstrate the reality of his Honest, Virtuous, and Pious Principles, than had they been designed to be published, and been published by himself; which perhaps may render them not less acceptable to some Readers not of the lower rank.

So that considering the Writings themselves I could not think that there was any thin therin, whether of matter or form, which could render the publication of them injurious or prejudicial to the Author in the least in any of the respects afore mentioned. Yet notwithstanding for the greater security I thought it might be fit, and but just to give this true and ingenuous account both of the occasion and manner of his writing, and of the publication of of [sic] them without his privity or knowledge. And this I conceived might be a just and sufficient means to secure the Author against all exceptions, as that which would wholly acquit him in the judgment of all reasonable men, and transferr [sic] the blame, if any should be, to my self, which yet was no more than what I must have resolved to have undergone had they been my own Writings which I had published.

It

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The Preface.

It remained therefore only to consider how this might be done, as without Injury in other respects, so without Offence to the Worthy Author. And for this, two things did not a little encourage me. 1. The Honesty of my Design and Sincerity of my Intentions in it: and 2. The Candor and Goodness of the Author. His Candor I knew to be such, that I doubted not of a fair and favourable construction of my Design and Intentions. And I knew his Goodness, Affection and Readiness to do Good, to be such, that he could not but approve my Design, that is, to do Good; the doing whereof I knew to be a thing of greater weight with him than all his reasons against the Publication: And that much good may be done by the publication of these writings, I could assure him upon my own experience of the effects I had seen already produced by them in Manuscript. All which, when he should consider, I was persuaded, though perhaps he might at first be a little surprised with the unexpected publication of them, yet he could not be much offended at it. And then if I could publish them without either Injury or Offence to him, I reckoned it all one in effect as if I had had his consent before to it. And hereupon I resolved at last upon it; and upon these considerations have made thus bold with this excellent person and my very good friend for th Good of others, which I should not have done for

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The Preface.

for any private advantage to my self what soever. I doubt not but the Reader will be very desirous to know who the Author of these Excellent Meditations is; and truly I was no less desirous that he should know it; and that for no inconsiderable reasons: 1. As it hath always been one of the most usual and constant Means and Methods, which Almighty God hath, in all Ages and Nations, used for the promotion of the Good of Mankind, to raise up eminent Examples of Virtue; so he hath been pleased to make this Author one of them in this Age and Nation: and because the Efficacy of the Examples of Virtuous Actions doth no less depend upon the Principles from whence they proceed, than doth the intrinsick Virtue and Goodness of the Actions themselves, the Publication of these Writings, which so plainly manifest his Principles, could not but be of great use to render his Excellent Example the more effectual, and so become subservient to the Gracious Designs of the Divine Providence. 2. In like manner on the other side, the known Worth, and Virtue, and Learning, and Prudence of the Author, would certainly have made these his Writings, how Excellent soever of themselves, yet more prevalent with many. 3. And because he is well known to be a person of extraordinary and admirable sagacity, dexterity, and impartiality in

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