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TO HER MAJESTY
Having received your gracious permission to dedicate this work to Your Majesty, I offer it as an expression of dutiful allegiance, and of loyal attachment, from one who earnestly prays, in submission to the Highest Will, that the great purposes for which you hold your exalted station, may continue to be faithfully and successfully carried on, under your just and beneficent sway, when he, and others much younger than himself, shall have been removed from the scenes of time.
For more than forty years it has been my endeavour to promote the improvement of society, under the solemn responsibilities of religion, and under the guidance of its sacred directions. To observe this improvement advancing as it has done for the last twenty years, and now to see the aims of benevolence, in various directions, either actually achieved, or
tending towards their full and effective accomplishment, is a high reward to those who long laboured in hope and in faith. To many of these persons, no external reward could ever have been in view; still less could they have looked forward to a participation, under any change of circumstances, in those distinctions and emoluments which it is in the power of a Sovereign to bestow
Debarred by my profession, in connection with my religious opinions, from sharing in those public advantages which services in education, and other exertions for social welfare, frequently obtain, it was not perhaps unreasonable that I should desire an honour which is wholly unconnected with those advantages, and which Your Majesty has been graciously pleased to confer.
On ascending the throne of these realms, Your Majesty made the joyinspiring declaration, that you would consult the welfare of ALL classes of your subjects. I am happy, as well as grateful, that, in granting the permission which I sought, Your Majesty has shown that no religious denomination among your subjects will be without a portion of that kind consideration which you can manifest without compromising your own individual convictions, and without interfering with those claims which are given to others by the law of the land.
If the following Work had been founded upon, or had been intended to teach, the distinctive opinions which I hold as a Unitarian Christian, I would on no account have solicited the honour of dedicating it to Your Majesty. But I am fortified by the published statement of a Divine of the Established Church, distinguished as a defender of its doctrines, honoured by his scientific rank, and greatly esteemed for his personal character, in representing my work as in no sense doctrinal in its nature. If my own peculiarities of religious belief have ever biassed me in it, I am not conscious of the fact. But, Madam, there is, as Divines of your own Church have expressed it, a common Christianity; and my labours in this volume have been directed to illustrate this, under the influence of reverence and love for our common Saviour. I hope it will be found, as expressed by the American Reviewer quoted in my Preface, that "the Author seems never to forget, and he never lets his reader forget, that it is a holy record he is analyzing the history of the Son of God that he is illustrating.”
Of Your Majesty it may, I trust, be truly said, that "from a child you have known the Holy Scriptures," and that you have cherished that sense of accountableness which they impress upon the faithful heart. This will continually lead to the earnest contemplation of the character, and to the self-application of the word, of him who is appointed to be
the Judge of all; and should this volume prove of any aid to Your
Majesty, in those serious pursuits which are needed, by every one, to prevent the undue influence of "the world which passeth away," it will be reason for the deepest thankfulness.
I have the honour to be,
With grateful and dutiful regards,
Your Majesty's faithful subject,
August 25, 1838.