Neal - Houston-Packer Collection BX9333 .N4 1754 v1

xfv P R E F AC E. Iam not f vain as to expel to efcape the cenfures of critics, nor the reproaches of angry men, who while they do nothing themfelves, take plea- fare in expfng the labours of others in pamphlets and news-papers; but as I fh-all be always thankful to any who will convince me of my miflakes itz a friendly manner, the others may be fecure of enjoying the fatisfaelion theirfatirical remarks, without any durbance fromme. I bave endeavoured to acquaint mfelf thoroughly with the times of which Iwrite ; and as I have no expectations from any party of chriftians, I am under no temptation to difgu f their conduel: I have cited my au- thorities in the margin, and flatter myfelf that I have bad the opportunity of bringing many things to light, relating to the fuferings of the Puritans, and the flate of the reformation in thole times, which have hitherto been unknown to the world, chiefly by the affiance of a large enanufcript collec- tion ej papers, faithfully tranfcribed from their originals in the univerfity of Cambridge, by aperfcn of character employedfor thatpurpofe, andge- neroulfy communicated to me by my ingenious and learnedfriend Dr. Ben- jamin Grofvenor ; for which I take this opportunity of returning him my own, and the thanks of the public. Anong the ecclefiafiical hiliorians of thefe times, Mr. Fuller, bifhop Burnet, and Mr. Strype are the chief; the lall of whom has fèarcbed into the records of the englifh reformation more than any man of the age ; Dr. Heylin andCollyer are of more fuf- peeled authority, not fo much for their party principles, as becaufe the former never gives us his vouchers, and yet the latter follows him blindly in all things. Upon the whole, I have endeavoured to keep in view the homy andgra- vity of an hforian, andhave Paid nothing with a deign to exaggerate or widen the dferences among chriflians ; for as .1 amafincere admirer of the doctrines of the new to/lament, I would have an equal regard to its moll excellent precepts, of which thefe are force of the capital, that we love one another; that we forgive offences; that we bear one anothers infirmities, and even biefs them that curie us, and pray for them that defpitefully ufe us and perfecute us. If this fpirit and temper were more prevalent, the lives of chri/lians would throw a bright tube upon the truth and ex- cellency of their divine faith, and convince the athefs and infidels of the age, more than all their arguments can do without it. Iwould earnefllyrecommend this temper to the proteftant non-conformifts of the prefènt age, together with an holy emulation of each other in un- d f mbled piety and farieiity of life, that while they are reading the heavy andgrievous fuferings of their ancfors from ecclefiîaffical commifíïono, fpiritual courts, and penal laws, for confcience fake, they may be excit- ed to an humble adoration of divine providence, which has delivered them fo