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TO THE LAST VOLUME.
THE venerable OLIVER HEYWOOD, whose Works are now published in a uniform and complete edition, was one of the most laborious and useful men of his age. He shone brilliantly among a numerous host of radiant stars, which then appeared in the firmament of the church. He suffered along with his brethren in what they regarded as a righteous cause; he embraced every opportunity of doing good, and has left behind him a name, which is still pronounced, not only with respect, but veneration.
A period in which he passed his days, “not in the soft obscurities of retirement, nor under the shelter of academic bowers,” but amidst the rage of persecution La period, in which anxiety must often have preyed upon his heart feelingly alive to the interests of religion—a period, in which he not unfrequently was driven from the tender charities of home, and hunted like a partridge upon the mountains, was the season in which, at intervals, whenever persecution had suspended its fury, he employed himself in writing his largest Treatises. The evil days on which he was cast, and which not rarely involved him in difficulties, embarrassments, and sufferings, may serve to account for imperfections sometimes visible in the arrangement and style of his writings. But his Works, notwithstanding that many of them were composed in such adverse circumstances, form a precious memorial of his singular piety, and his ardent zeal for the cause of God.
Those Works were approaching the gulph of oblivion, and have been arrested on their passage. Whether, in preserving from oblivion the compositions of such a devoted, zealous, and eminent servant of the Redeemer, the Editor has exercised a sound discretion, he leaves the public to decide. In the mean time, he has learnt with pleasure, that the pious feelings of many have been excited by the perusal of the preceding volumes; and wherever piety has shed its heavenly influence, he doubts not, the whole of this publication will prove acceptable, and become a source of spiritual benefit.
Several years ago, proposals were issued for the republication of Mr. Heywood's Works; but the patronage, which was at that time solicited and promised, did not appear sufficient for giving encouragement to carry the design into execution. However, the present Editor ventured to propose again a New Edition, and, without reserve, to throw himself for indemnification upon the liberality of the Public, which had never previously disappointed him when attempt