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The increasing infirmities of my revered friend, Mr. Cecil, rendering it impracticable for him to revise his writings for a new edition, he devolved that task on me. During the progress of the work through the press, he was called to his reward.
The first edition of these works was printed in four volumes. By some variation in the arrangement, the present is comprised in three.
The FIRST volume of this edition contains Mr. Cecil's Memoirs of his three friends-Cadogan, Bacon, and Newton.
Those of Mr. Cadogan first appeared in 1798, prefixed to a collection of his Discourses, in one vol. 8vo. Mr. Cecil suggested a few alterations, in consequence of hints from the Rev. Mr. Hallward, who knew Mr. Cadogan very intimately. The Memoirs of Mr. Bacon were published in 1801, in crown 8vo. I have corrected them in a few places, on the suggestion of the present Mr. John Bacon, and have removed the notes from the end to their proper situation at the foot of the page.
I have done this likewise in the Memoirs of Mr. Newton, and have occasionally corrected the style. I have also omitted part of the Table
Talk. Observations gathered up in familiar conversation should always be submitted to the eye of a third person, who must be best qualified to judge what will be generally impressive; as the recorder himself may, in many instances, retain associations in his mind which may render remarks vivid and interesting, while they will appear to the reader, for want of such associations, trifling or obscure.
The SECOND volume contains Thirty-Three Sermons taken down after Mr. Cecil, by two friends, in short-hand; with two of his most popular and useful Tracts.
The THIRD volume consists of various Sermons and Tracts, which have been either already printed, or were written out by Mr. Cecil ; together with Remarks made by Mr. Cecil chiefly in conversation with the Editor, or in discussions when he was present ; with an Appendix communicated by some friends.
May that God, whom our great friend so faithfully served in the Gospel of his Son, bless the reading of these volumes to the establishment and furtherance of the Redeemer's kingdom!
Most of the following anecdotes were collected in Mr. Cecil's life-time. Since his decease, they have been interwoven into this Memoir, with a short account of his latter days, and a slight view of his domestic character and habits. His personal and public character will be added by my very kind friend, the Rev. Josiah Pratt.
Should any friend feel repugnance at seeing his name inserted in this Memoir, I beg leave to observe, that the delicacy due to him in requesting permission, was neither overlooked nor disregarded; but it was imperiously superseded by Mr. Cecil's positive injunction, that I should bear this public testimony to the kindness which he had received.