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HE Author of these Sermons, by a codicil to his
Will, declared as follows: 65 If my life had been continued, it was my intention to have printed at Sunderland a Volume of Sermons — about soo copies; to be distributed gratis in the parish; and I had proceeded so far in the design as to have transcribed several Sermons for that purpose, which are in a parcel by themselves. There is also a parcel from which I intended to make other transcripts; but the business is in an imperfect, unfinished state; the arrangement is not settled further than that I thought the Sermon on Seriousness in Religion should come first, and then the doctrinal Sermons; there are also many repetitions in them, and some that might be omitted or consolidated with others.” The codicil then goes on to direct, that, after such disposition should have been made respecting the Manuscripts as might be deemed necessary, they should be printed by the Rev. Mr. Stephenson, at the expence of the testator's executors, and distributed in the neighbourhood, first to those who frequented church, then to farmers' families in the country, then to such as had a person in the family who
could read, and were likely to read them: and finally, it is added, “I would not have the said Sermons published for sale."
In compliance with this direction, the following Sermons were selected, printed, and distributed by the Rev. Mr. Stephenson, in and about the parish of Bishop-Wearmouth, in the year 1806.
These Discourses were not originally composed for publication, but were written for, and as appears by the Manuscripts, had most of them been preached at the Parish Churches of which, in different parts of the Author's life he had the care. It was undoubtedly the Author's intention that they should not be published; but the circulation of such a number as he had directed by his will to be distributed, rendered it impossible to adhere to that intention; and it was found necessary to publish them, as the only means of preventing a surreptitious sale.
The produce of the sale of the copy-right (except two sums of gol. given towards the establishment of charitable schools at Bishop-Wearmouth and Settie, in Yorkshire), has been paid over by the Author's Executors to the Corporation of the Sons of the Clergy, to be added to the general funds of that Institution.