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THE LIFE AND DEATH
BEGINNING AT THE TIME OF HIS FIRST MIRACLE, UNTIL THE SECOND
YEAR OF HIS PREACHING.
RIGHT HONOURABLE AND EXCELLENT LADY,
COUNTESS DOWAGER OF NORTHAMPTON.
I am now to present to your Honour part of that production, of which your great love to sanctity was parent; and which was partly designed to satisfy those great appetites to virtue, which have made you hugely apprehensive and forward to entertain any instrument, whereby you may grow and increase in the service of God, and the communion and charities of holy people. Your Honour best knows, in what soil the first design of these papers grew; and, but that the excellent personage who was their first root, is transplanted for a time, that he might not have his righteous soul vexed with the impurer conversation of ill-minded men, I am confident you would have received the fruits of his abode to more excellent purposes. But because he was pleased to leave the managing of this to me, I hope your Honour will, for his sake, entertain what that rare person “ conceived,” though I was left to the pains and danger of “ bringing forth ;” and that it may dwell with you for its first relation, rather than be rejected for its appendant imperfections, which it contracted not in the fountain, but in the channels of its progress and emanation. Madam, I shall beg of God that your Honour may receive as great increment of piety and ghostly strength in the reading this book, as I receive honour if you shall be pleased to accept and own this as a confession of your great worthiness, and a testimony of the service, which ought to be paid to your Honour, by,