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TO THE READER.
The writer of the following pages was born October 12, 1757; was educated at Harrow School: became a member of Clare-hall in Cambridge, January 1775: and was elected a Fellow of that Society in 1779. In 1782 he received the degree of Master of Arts : and vacated his Fellowship by marriage in 1786. In 1788 he became a resident minister of the parishes of Mileham and Fransham in Norfolk; which situation he changed in 1793 for the adjoining parish of Litcham and Lexham. He died January 31st, 1795, after a short illness, in the 38th year of his age.
It may be imagined, perhaps, by many, that a life, of which such was the outline, must have been as useless and insipid, as it was short and retired. Not such, however, will be the judgment of those whom experience or observation may have taught more justly to appreciate the character of an ex
emplary parish priest. Such will be aware, that to constitute that character, there must be an union of learning and modesty; of spirit and of patience; that a marked detestation of vice must be made consistent with unabated charity for the offender; that the conduct of the man must never be at variance with the precepts of the preacher; that reproof must be tempered with gentleness; faith be made manifest by works; and zeal be directed by knowledge.
Whoever, indeed, can estimate the advantages which result to society from the exertions of a man at once sufficiently dignified and conciliating to " reprove, rebuke, and exhort with all long-suffering and doctrine;" who can win over the rich to temperance and charity; and the poor to honest industry and contentment; above all, whoever reflects on the blessedness of turning but one sinner from the error of his ways unto righteousness, will admit, that when the conscientious discharge of such duties is chosen by any one as the basis on which to build his character, his labours (albeit hidden in the deepest retirement) are still directed to an end not un
worthy the commendation of the wisest men, or the gratitude of the best.
The following discourses constitute the principal labours of their author in his ministry. The species of merit, on which the editor founds his hope of their being well received by the public, is their plainness : and it was with a reference to this quality that he has intimated in the title page the auditors to whom they were delivered. The reader is requested to carry this in his recollection while he peruses them: because it accounts for, and gives a value to, their great simplicity of composition, and unornamented language; and is, at the same time, a mark of the carefulness with which their author accommodated himself to the duties of his situation. How far he was successful in this branch of his Christian duty, the publication of them will enable many to judge; ho
well his conduct accorded with his precepts, can be known only within the limits of a less extended circle. Not a few, however, can bear testimony to a temper unruffled by accidents, and a cheerfulness which never degenei uted into levity: to much learning, and great se
dulity: to strict self-regimen: to a judgment which could discern frailties, and a candour which failed not to extenuate them: to affability which encouraged the reserved, and decorum which repressed the froward : to kindness in general intercourse, and warmth in particular friendship: to active charity and unwearied zeal for the relief of the temporal and spiritual wants of all around him. The few who knew him still more intimately witnessed the exact fulfilment of the duties of a Son, a Brother, an Husband, and a Father: and cannot plead the want of an example of that more extended Charity“ which seeketh not her own, and thinketh no evil :” of that more exalted Wisdom, which “ whoso findeth, findeth Life.”