extensive moral influence, may we not cherish a hope that their republication will not be unproductive of good?

In the village in which the Editor resides he has ascertained that there are two of Mr. Heywood's Treatises one of them, entitled Heart Treasure, he found in the course of its transit from family to family, in which holy progress it had been proceeding for 158 years; but almost all the copies of his works have finished their course, and it has been with very great difficulty that copies have been procured to complete this republication of the smallest of his publications (Job's Appeal) only one printed copy is known to exist, and some of the others are exceedingly scarce. The Treatise on Closet Prayer is the only part of his Works, so far as the Editor knows, which has hitherto been re-printed. Dr. Fawcett, indeed, published Life in God's Favour, but it cannot, with strict propriety, be called a re-publication of the venerable Nonconformist's work, for as the Doctor, with the best intentions, seems to have resolved on doing what he could to secure public approbation by modernizing the phraseology, and interweaving with the original many additional observations, (calculated, as he justly thought, for usefulness) it became, in his hands, what may be denominated a paraphrase or an improvement.

In presenting the whole Works of the Reverend OLIVER HEYWOOD to the Public, the Editor acknowledges that he has had some hesitation, not because his

respect for the memory of the Author has wavered, nor because he ever considered the subjects discussed and illustrated by him as unimportant or uninteresting, nor because he judged the Author or his Work unworthy of ceaseless fame. No; but he is aware that the taste of the age in which we live is very different from that which prevailed in the days of our ancestors, and he has apprehended that the language of the seventeenth century would have but few attractions in the nineteenth. That quaintness of expression which characterized almost all the literary productions of the writers who flourished before the revolution, tinges everywhere the style of our Author; his language may often be considered as of a homely description, and forms of sentences are frequently occurring, in which words are introduced to rhyme with each other, which were, doubtless, regarded by him, and probably by a majority of his readers, as beauties of composition, but which will appear as blemishes to those who are accustomed to the polished periods of this refined age. But then there are many redeeming qualities. The medium of his thoughts is, in general, very transparent; perspicuity, the first excellence of all language, invariably distinguishes his compositions. Seldom will you find an intricate or involved sentence; in the formation of his periods he does not, like some of his contemporaries, conduct you into a labyrinth, from which, with great difficulty only, you can find your way. His numerous comparisons, though they may in some instances be liable to the charge of coarseness, are taken generally from common life, and are very often striking and

happy. An unaffected simplicity is a prominent characteristic of his writings; an indescribable something which the French have denominated naïveté, which springs from the amiable and undisguised feelings of the writer, and which engages and often charms the attention and feelings of his reader, runs through every page. And above all, the Works which now, for the first time, make their appearance in a uniform edition, are rendered interesting by the evident solicitude and earnestness of the Author to promote the spiritual and eternal welfare of his fellow-men.

After what has been said, it may be unnecessary to observe, that the graces of eloquence are not to be expected to ornament these Volumes, and neither do learned or metaphysical disquisitions characterize their pages. Piety is the grace which must recommend them, if they obtain any cordial reception at all, but with this recommendation there may be hope that they will succeed; for piety, like the poet's beauty,

is when unadorned, adorned the most."

[ocr errors]

It must be acknowledged that piety, as here attired, appears a little in the antique style-her garb is according to the fashion of other times, but even at the present day the fashion of antiquity has had its admirers. A singular confirmation of this remark has lately occurred; a preacher and author, who has been ambitious to convert our sermons and discourses into orations and arguments, has attempted to revive . Rev. E. Irving.

the obsolete phraseology of our forefathers, and his popularity has been great; but if the copy has not been without its attractions, the original ought certainly to be received with still greater favour.

To the reader the Editor would say, you will not see here the master-hand of Owen-you will not perceive the giant-grasp of Howe-nor will you be gratified with the harmonious periods of the " silver-tongued Bates;" but if you can be pleased and edified with the plainness, simplicity, seriousness, and pathetic admonitions of Flavel-or if your religious feelings are excited by the pious solicitude of Baxter and his earnest appeals to the consciences of men, there is reason to believe that the affection, faithfulness, and zeal perpetually discoverable in all the productions of our Author, cannot fail to engage your attention, and make those impressions which mark the progress of religion in the heart. The state of that man's mind must be far from being what it ought to be, who should read the Subjects of Thought and Meditation on daily occurrences, prescribed at the close of the Treatise, entitled Heart Treasure, or the advantages of assurance, stated in the eleventh Chapter of the Sure Mercies of David, and who, when he has finished the perusal, does not feel a disposition to say, "Let my soul be as the soul of Oliver Heywood-let me die the death of that righteous man, and let my last end be like his."

The state in which the Editor found the original copies, has occasioned him far more labour than he had


contemplated. The errors of the Press were innumerable; in not a few instances too, there appear to have been slips of the pen, not to be wondered at in the Author's circumstances; in consequence of which, heterogeneous sentences sometimes occur which he, unquestionably, would himself have corrected if an opportunity had presented itself; and in those copies, there are also words which custom has long banished from the language, and which would now be unintelligible to many. Errors of the press, or the pen, the Editor has corrected, * and instead of obsolete words, he has substituted others sanctioned by modern use; but this has been done very sparingly, and in every case of this description, the sense of the Author has been most religiously preserved—in several instances, the antiquated terms have been retained, and their signification given at the bottom of the page.

In these Volumes, Oliver Heywood appears in his own dress, in the costume of his age, and if the Editor has taken the liberty of brushing off a spot or two which had rather an unsightly appearance, he hopes he will not be condemned for officiousness; indeed, he is more apprehensive that he may be blamed for not

* The passages quoted from Justin Martyr, Irenæus, Clemens Alexandrinus, Tertullian, Cyprian, Augustine, and others, have been collated, and the errors in them, of which there were not a few, have been corrected with care. In two or three instances, the passages adduced were in such a state, that they were beyond the possibility of being corrected, without collation. The Works of Bernard, from which several quotations are made, the Editor does not possess.

« ElőzőTovább »