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THE Author would mention, not as any apology, but merely wishing to state circumstances as they really are, that the following lines were for the most part written during the time he was an under-graduate at the University of Oxford, and without the slightest thought at that time of their ever extending beyond his own manuscript; but as many of those who from time to time have perused them during a period of three or four years which has since transpired, (forming perhaps too partial an estimate of any merit that they might possess) have expressed a wish for their publication, and, with some slight alterations, himself seeing noweighty reason why they should now be withheld, he commits them to the stream where many a publication is floating, “through evil report and
good report,” toward the proud eminence of Fame,-and many a one, too, sinking long before it has reached the desired spot.
Sincerity and conscientious principle, within the reach of every one, are all that the author of these lines would aspire to—solid erudition may aim, and justly so, at higher things. It may be that his little work may soon sink and be forgotten, or it may be spared a short season, to wax old as doth a garment, and then disappear; but its subject, it is his happiness to know, will remain" the same yesterday, to-day, and for ever,"—its “years shall not fail.”
And however the world may frown at this his early effort in other respects, it cannot, he trusts, tax him with irreverence, in that he drew near to contemplate “ the mystery of godliness,' yet “the things which belong unto our peace, without being sensibly aware that he was standing upon holy ground.
To speak in becoming language of the attri
butes of God, of His greatness, His mercy, or His power, requires nothing less than the words of inspiration. He surely, therefore, must have felt his own incapacity, considering that even the wisest of men have much reason to enquire “ who is sufficient for these things !"
But as an assurance to him as an humble mi
nister of the Gospel, he remembers that “ in the Church there are diversity of gifts;" that there may not be depth of reasoning, or profound judgment, nor even the powers of a fertile imagination, that all may not come “ with excellency of speech or wisdom," and that few in the Church of Christ can be such as Paul the aged, or Apollos, or Cephas, yet he believes that all may have grace sufficient, and, possessing the wisdom" which maketh wise unto salvation,” be enabled “rightly to divide the word of truth,' so that “ he who runs may read,” can go forth as bidden to instruct in “the way which leadeth unto life,” to teach the observance of Christ's commandments; and casting in their mite of knowledge for the good of mankind, labour by
every means in their power in any part of the vineyard to which it has pleased God to send them.
With this encouragement the author ventures to publish this his composition with all its defects, in hope that as simplicity of language has been much aimed at, it will find an easy admittance to the understanding, and root at least some passage of Holy Writ, some "faithful saying" of Christ, deeper in the memory. And it is moreover a pleasing idea to him, that when it is “cast upon the waters," it may be that ere long, or “after many days,” perhaps not the man only who has “walked with God” in that peace which the world can neither give nor take away,—not the youthful follower only who has from infancy lisped His praises, but some fellowcreature who has lived without God in the world, as Simon Magnus in the gall of bitterness,-or some thoughtless and misguided child, whom his parents have neglected to “ train up in the way he should go,” may, in perusing these lines, be led, by something