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nor shall I be entitled or disposed to complain, of any neglect or any severity, with which that public may treat me.

Not that I would affect the silly pride of despising public opinion. On the contrary, when fairly collected, and decidedly pronounced, I think it deserves the utmost deference. As these Sermons, however, would never have seen the light, but for your urgent solicitation, I shall console myself under any sentence, which criticism may pass, with the pleasing reflection, that, in complying with your request, I have offered a testimony of gratitude and respect to those, who have estimated my public services beyond their proper worth, and rewarded them with every mark of esteem, that a Christian Teacher can expect or desire.

My

My object will be answered, if your wishes be gratified, and your religious im provement in any degree promoted.

This volume, indeed, is in every sense your own. The unprompted zeal which you have shown to prevent the author from suffering loss, is but one of many instances, in which you have testified your liberality to your Minister;-and not to him only, but, at his suggestion, to charitable institutions, in which you knew him to take a warm interest.

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You will remark, that, in the first part of the volume, I have endeavoured to form a connection among the subjects. But as the Discourses were not written with any view to such an arrangement, nor indeed to publication in any form, this has necessarily occasioned a repetition of sentiment,

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ment, which could have been avoided only by recomposing them. If, on points of such vital importance, this repetition should tend to strengthen the impression, though the critic may blame, the Christian will forgive.

Whatever other end this volume may answer, it will be a proof, at least, of that uninterrupted harmony, which has subsisted, these five-and-thirty years, between the Minister of Monkwell Street Meeting, and his little, but respectable and generous Society. You will bear me witness, that this harmony has not been purchased, on my part, by any courtly arts; far less by disguising any opinion, religious or political, on which I have differed from individuals among you.

38.

It has been sometimes brought as a

general

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general charge against Dissenting Ministers, that being dependent upon the voluntary contributions of their hearers, they are under the necessity of humouring prejudices, and concealing truth, and compromising conscience. That there are among us, as well as elsewhere, creeping time-servers, who seek favour at the expense of principle, may be very true. But this I can say from experience, that, in the end, firmness and consistency will secure more esteem, even from those to whom we refuse to yield, than the sycophancy of those despicable characters, who become all things to all men for the sake of popularity or of filthy lucre.

It is not to be expected, that in any society there should be a perfect agreement, either in political or religious sentiment, unless where all are tied down by system,

system, or tempted by interest, to profess the same creed; and even then, belief and profession are not precisely the same thing. I have occasionally thought differently from individuals among you, and freely expressed my opinions. But such differences should not, and among the enlightened and the candid they will not, disturb that union of heart, and of general views, which is the only union, that Christianity either contemplates or requires.

Since you first urged me to print, several most excellent friends, belonging to our Society, have gone to that place, where Sermons are no more wanted. I shall soon follow them. But for the little time I have to remain, I trust I shall live among you, in the same habits of affectionate intimacy, as I have done for so many years past; and that, through the grace of God in the

Gospel,

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