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As this volume may chance to fall into the hands of readers who are not acquainted with the circumstances which occasioned its publication,-I am unwilling it should go forth to the world, without some explanation of the motives which induced me thus to obtrude it on public notice. On my appointment to the ministry of the church lately erected in Yarmouth, some of the members of my congregation in Norwich, requested me to publish a portion of the sermons which I had delivered during the time of my officiating amongst them. This kind wish, rendered doubly grateful to me by the kindness with which it was expressed, I could not refuse, although conscious how unworthy my hasty compositions would prove of so high a compliment.
The discourses contained in this volume were designed in the sincere hope of administering to the spiritual wants of a congregation, composed of various ranks and classes of persons and they are presented with few alterations, except the occasional correction of inaccuracies of expression and some verbal errors, which from the pressure of other occupations, I had not, at the time, opportunity to revise. The reader will, perhaps, occasionally meet with passages almost verbally the same with those which he has seen elsewhere, without any acknowledgment being made of the source from which they were drawn. It will be necessary therefore, in my own justification, briefly to explain this apparent plagiarism. In consulting such commentators as I had access to on any particular text of Scripture, I have sometimes, I doubt not, adopted even their language as more expressive than any thing which I could write and not having, at that time, the remotest idea that my sermons would ever thus be exposed to the eye of public criticism, I have generally neglected to mark the passages so borrowed with any signs of reference, and am now utterly
unable to discover those portions which I have thus interwoven with my own writing. Wherever I could trace the sentence to its real owner, I have not failed to do so. And the candid reader will, I trust, should he detect a theft of this kind, overlook it as an unintentional appropriation.
I cannot avoid taking this opportunity of expressing the deep sense I entertain of the honour conferred upon me, by the list of subscribers which stands at the head of this volume. Those members of my late congregation in Norwich, whose names appear therein, will, I am sure, believe me, when I say, that this mark of their affectionate remembrance will remain with me as long as memory shall retain its seat. It affords me, too, no trifling satisfaction to hope, as I have on this occasion reason to do, that I am still surrounded by friends, whose kindness is not less active and sincere than that which I have left behind; and who will also accept this feeble expression of a gratitude, which I trust no change will impair, no time efface.
I will trespass no longer upon the reader's patience with the expression of my own feel
ings, except to add, that if the perusal of the contents of this volume shall tend, through the mercy of Almighty God, even in one single instance, to arouse the slumberer, to cheer the faint-hearted, or to warn the negligent, I shall reflect on its publication with gladness, and rejoice in the humble hope that my labour has not been in vain in the Lord.
W. H. CLARKE.
Yarmouth, July, 1834.