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ADVERTISEMENT

TO THE

THIRD EDITION.

This Third Edition differs from the two preceding, in the way both of addition, and of omission.

Of omissions of any considerable moment, there is only one. The Life of Philip Henry, which constituted a large portion of the sixth volume of the former editions, has been withdrawn.

The length of this Life had been occasionally complained of, as hardly compensated by a proportionate degree of value and interest; and sometimes it was alleged, that some degree of incongruity and unsuitableness to the leading, general design of the Collection, was introduced by the circumstance of the longest piece in the whole work being an encomiastic account of a nonconformist minister. After all, however, the consideration which weighed most on the Editor's own mind, was, that since his former publication, a new edition of the Life in question has

appeared, revised, &c. from the original Diary, under the following title, viz. The Life of the Rev. Philip Henry, A.M., &c. corrected and enlarged, by J. B. Williams, F.S.A. London, 1825. 8vo.

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After the appearance of the narrative in this revised and augmented form, it seemed that it would be neither respectful to the public, nor just to any of the other parties concerned, to republish merely the old edition, which wanted the accessions and improvements introduced by the new Editor: it was thought best,

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therefore, to abandon this portion of the series entirely; it being left to any of my readers, who may think the deficiency serious, to make it good, by the separate purchase of Mr. Williams's new and extended edition.

The additions, introduced in this Third Edition, consist partly of additions to the text, and partly to the notes.

The new Lives adopted are only two. The first a short account of Dean Colet, founder of St. Paul's School, consisting of extracts, brought together from sundry Letters of Colet's friend, Erasmus : and the other is an interesting narrative by himself, of the troubles of Thomas Mountain, a London clergyman, published by Strype from Fox's Papers. It is introduced as forming a suitable connecting link between the persecutions of the reign of Mary, and the re-establishment of the Reformed Catholic Church of England under Elizabeth.

But much the most important addition to the body of the text, is a two-fold Introduction of considerable extent, at the opening of the first volume. It is divided into two main portions; the former of which may be characterized generally as an historical narrative of the origin and progress of the Papal usurpations and corruptions in England both in Church and State, and is derived from Dr. John Inett's Church History. The latter, borrowed from Dr. Richard Bentley's famous Fifth of November sermon, I have entitled “Doctrinal Corruptions of Popery."

The two former editions wanting any such Introduction as is now referred to, and opening abruptly with the Life of Wickliffe ; I have long felt that my Reader, without any fault of his own, was thus placed in a somewhat fallacious and injurious position, in finding his sympathies enlisted in behalf of a party, strenuously

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opposed to the governors of the established Church of that age (and oftentimes in opposition also to those of the State), without being put in possession of any sufficient account how this condition of things had arisen, and without receiving any adequate exposition of the motives and principles by which either those governors of the Church, or the mal-content party (Wickliffe and his followers) themselves, were actuated. By leading my Reader back to the ancient and primitive condition of the Church of England, and thence guiding him along in rapid progress down to the age of Wickliffe, through a short, but sufficiently copious, and at the same time a not uninteresting recital of the lamentable degeneracy, gradually introduced by the usurpation and tyranny of the Church of Rome, it seemed that my Reader would be led naturally and easily to comprehend the true nature of the principles in many important respects grossly delusive and erroneous) upon which the rulers of the Church sought to maintain themselves against the arguments and efforts of the mal-contents: and that he would be better qualified to discern and distinguish between what was right and what was wrong in the principles and conduct of the Reformers; and so learn also occasionally to look with a degree of pardonable indulgence upon the incidental aberrations of those eminent persons, the early champions of respiring freedom and truth, who though baffled and discomfited for several successive generations, were in fact, in many main respects, no other than the fore-runners and fore-fathers in Christ, of Cranmer, Ridley, Latimer, and the rest, the great successful champions, under Providence, of the English Reformation; were, in fact, no other than that which the Reformed Catholic Church of England herself, through much conflict, at length gradually became under Henry VIII., Edward VI., and

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finally under Q. Elizabeth: then, I say, became, through God's mercy, and still subsists by the same mercy; and still, we trust, will continue to subsist, the noblest branch of the true Catholic Church of Christ; the guardian, keeper, and nurse of all genuine intellectual, moral, civil, and spiritual truth and freedom, in equal opposition to the modern corruptions, whether of the tyranny and despotism of the Church of Rome, or of the insubordination and anarchy of Puritans, Rationalists, and Sectarians.

The additions to the notes, throughout the whole work, are numerous ; and the Editor hopes that the length of many of those which are new, will be compensated by the value, which they will be thought to give to his Collection. The Index, also, has been largely augmented.

With respect to the size and dimensions of the Work, it is not necessary to say more, than that the six volumes of the preceding editions are compressed into four in the present; and that the Work, in its external appearance and qualities, is conformed closely to the Editor's Christian Institutes ; in the hope, also, that in many higher respects they may be found suitable companions and associates; and may mutually conspire and co-operate in carrying into effect the Editor's main design in the compilation of them both, the advancement of the religious portion of a liberal education of the middle and upper classes of society, according to the principles of the Church of England.

For numerous and valuable suggestions, in the way both of correction of and addition to the Notes, while the edition was passing through the press, I am bound to acknowledge myself very greatly indebted to John Holmes, Esq., of the British Museum.

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Trinity College, Cambridge,

June 1, 1839.

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