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General Library System University of Wisconsin - Madison 722 Slate Stress Madison, WI 53706-1494 U.S.A.
The author of these Sermons, by a codicil to his Will, declared as follows: If my life had been spared, it was my intention to have printed at Sunderland a Volume of Sermons—about 500 copies; and I had proceeded so far in the design as to have transcribed several Sermons for that purpose, which are in a parcel by themselves. There is also a parcel from which I intended to transcribe others; but the whole is in an unfinished state, the arrangement is not settled, and there are many things which might be omitted, and others which may
be altered or consolidated. The codicil then goes on to direct, that, after such disposition should have been made respecting the Manuscripts as might be deemed necessary, they should be printed by the Rev. Mr Stephenson, at the expense of the testator's executors, and distributed in the neighbourhood, first to those who frequented church, then to farmers' families in the country, then to such as had a person in the family who could read, and were likely to read them; and finally, it is added, “I would not have the said Sermons published for sale.'
In compliance with this direction, the following Sermons were selected, printed, and distributed by the Rev. Mr Stephenson, in and about the parish of Bishop-Wearmouth, in the year 1806.
These discourses were not originally composed for publication, but were written for, and, as appears by the Manuscripts, had been preached at the Parish Churches of which, in different parts of the author's life, he had the care. It was undoubtedly the author's intention that they should not have been published; but the circulation of such a number as he had directed by his will to be distributed, rendered it impossible to adhere to the other part of his direction; and it was found necessary to publish them, as the only means of preventing a surreptitious sale.