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un T is fir I should acquaint the Rea der, in the first place, with the oc
casion of the following Notes And I am the more inclined fo to do, that it may appear that I have not been forward to make them publick, and ambitious of appearing in Print. : Many years are now passed, since a considerable number of the Clergy of Londón met together, and agreed to puba lifh fome short Notes upon the whole Bible for the Use of Families, and of all those well-disposed Persons that desired to read the Holy Scriptures to their greatest advantage. At that Meeting they do greed upon this worthy design, and took their several shares, and alligned some (a)
part to them who were absent. I was not present at that Meeting, but. I was soon informed that they had alligned to me the Pentateuch. I was very sensible how great a Task this would prove, and was sufficiently conscious of my own defects ; Yet was I willing to undertake it, because I did always hope, that by yielding to it
, I might incourage the Labours of those who would exceed what.ever I was able to do. Upon this consideration I did set about this work, and did often declare ( and with great sincerity) that this was the Motive which did in
The Work was begun with common consent, and we did frequently meet, and what was done was communicated from time to time to those met together, and that were concerned. : The Methods of proceeding had been adjusted, and agreed to; A Specimen was princed, and an agreement was made when it should be
put to the Press.; and I finished my Part in order thereunto.
But so it fell out, that, soon after all this, the Clouds began to gather a. pace, and there was great ground to fear that the Popish Party was attempting to ruin the Church of England, and that there was a severe Storm from that Quarter lighting upon us. We were alarm'd with their Plots and Conspiracies, and sometime after saw that Party encoura-, ged by the Higher Powers. Those of that Party preached and printed, and had their separate Meetings, and drew away fome of our People, and more were in danger of being seduced. Hence it
came to pass, that the thoughts of pursuing the above-mentioned design were at present laid aside ; i and those that were concerned in it, were now obliged to turn their Studies and Pens against that dangerous Enemy And what was done at that time, and upon that occa. fion, by those concerned in this work of writing Notes on the Bible, i shalt not need to tell the Reader in this plaće.
During this time also, fome number of the Persons, concerned in the above-mentioned Work, were taken away by Death : And thus the work was hindred, that might else have been finished long lince.
A Work well designed it was, and would have been of unspeakable advantage. And perhaps nothing could have contributed more toward the making Men wiser, and better ; And nothing was more wanting among us than such a short Explicacion of the Holy Writ ; And, I am apr to believe, nothing would have been more acceptable to those that are well dispoked tħan such á Work. Some other hands have done something this way since, whose Endeavours have not wanted very considerable encouragement.' It would alfo have been of
great use co the Undertakers themselves, as it would have engaged them in those Studies, which, of all others, are most entertaining to all Men that are truly Spiritual. The studying of the Holy Scrip
tures is the best imployment for the Ministers in Holy things, and for the People alfo. And they that apply themselves diligently this way, will be best able to defend the Holy Writings against Gainfayers, and to deal with the
Enemies of the Reformed Religion.
And I having drawn up my Notes upon this occasion, do now think my self obliged to make them publick, God having now dispersed those Clouds that then hung over our heads. And I do it from the same Motive that first inauced me to undertake it ; viz. that I might draw on others to do much better in the following Books. I am very, willing to hope, that, in due time, the rest will follow in the same kind of Volume chat these appear in: I can hardly think thar a Work so well devised will fall to the ground, and will do any thing in my power to revive what was so well contriyed at first.
I cannot but say fomething in this place (belides what I intimated before) (a 3)