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The eminent situation which your Grace occupies in the Church, added to your more intimate and immediate connection with this Diocese in particular, would have been a very sufficient reason, had I no other, why I should dedicate the humble fruits of my professional labors to you, who have attained the highest honors which that profession has to bestow.
But in truth, my Lord, I have another and more powerful motive; and I am both proud and happy to embrace every opportunity, of shewing the grateful sense which I entertain, of the kindness which has placed me in the desirable situation from whence I am now writing. It is to the leisure attendant on a country residence
that the present publication is owing. Here, to use the delightful language of Cowper,
"Here much I ruminate as much I may, With other views of men and manners now Than once, and others of a life to come."
I should be wholly unworthy of the advantage and pleasure which 1 derive from the gift, unless I were anxiously desirous to express my gratitude upon every occasion, for the prompt and liberal manner in which that benefit was conferred.
Judging from the well known regard which your Grace pays to the interests of the Christian Church, and the attention which you wish should be bestowed
upon them more especially by your own clergy, of which none who have listened to your Grace's pastoral charges can be ignorant, I am willing to indulge the hope, that the attempt which is the subject of these sheets, may meet with your approbation. Indeed the principal subject of the conversation with which your Grace honoured your Clergy at the last visitation of your Diocese, must have given to us all a sufficient pledge, of your zealous desire to encourage every endeavour, towards the promoting of Christian knowledge.
Of the manner in which the present work is executed, I am but too deeply sensible of the many defects. But however small
the advantage may be, which the cause of Christianity may derive, from this account of its rise and progress, the enquiry has been attended with no inconsiderable benefit to myself. For this reason, verging as I now am towards the decline of life, (though more perhaps from want of health than from fulness of years,) I would wish most earnestly to recommend to my younger brethren, an early attention to those interesting and important studies which more immediately belong to our profession. They will find them not less useful to themselves, than to those whose best and dearest interests are committed to their charge.
Although I am duly conscious of the many deficiencies of this little volume, yet I cannot but be of opinion that every endeavour to elucidate the Holy Scriptures, and make them more generally studied and better understood, may, by the blessing of God upon it, be productive of some good. It is in this hope only that I venture to offer it to your Grace, imperfect as it is, though not without much diffidence..
I have the honor to be,
With the utmost respect
Your Grace's most obedient,
And obliged humble servant,
NORTHBOURN, MONTAGU PENNINGTON. Feb. 26, 1811.