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Tappan Presb, Mesor,

THE DEDICATION:

To WILLIAM RUSSEL, Esg.

AND THE OTHER MEMBERS OF THE CON-
GREGATION OF PROTESTANT DISSENTIRS
OF THE NEW MEETING AT BIRMINGHAM.

MY CHRISTIAN FRIENDS;

REMOVED as I have long been from you, and to a distant part of the world, the idea of our happy connexion, which sublifted more than ten years, is always present with me, and the refle&ion upon it affords me peculiar fatisfaction. My feparation from you by ruffian violence, which received too much countenance from the general spirit of the times, and to appearance, from the government that should have pro. tected us, is a subject of great regret; tho', together with all other evils that are permitted to take place

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in the unsearchable ways of providence, we can. not doubt but that it will ultimately appear to have been productive of good.

To the will of the greatest and best of Beings - it clearly behoves us to submit without repiningi.

and our enemies, tho' on account of the unworthy motives by which they were actuated, they are by no means excusable, yet being considered as the instruments in his hands, should be regarded with pity rather than resentment. By this time too, it may be presumed that the most inveterate of them are convinced of the unreasonableness of their con. duct, and truly repent of it, which will intitle them to the forgiveness of every christian.

It has been impoflible for me not to take an in. terest in every thing that has befallen you since my removal, and I rejoiced in your uncommonly flourishing state presently after your sufferings, through your noble fortitude, and the peculiarly ardent and valuable services of my successors in the ministry ; and I have lamented some circumstances of an unfavourable nalure, with refpect to which your sentiments have not been unanimous, tho' they have terminated without any serious inconvenience, Dillentions in christian churches, are, no doubt, greatly to be lamented, but they give occalion to the exercise of many christian virtues, especially those of meckness, forbearance, and

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mutual candour, in which I am confident you.

will not be deficient. . It was while I was with you that I first under.

took the business of expounding the scriptures from the pulpit, and began with this view to compose the Notes of which the following publication conGils; and therefore it is to you, and to few my grateful remembrance of our happy connexion, that I take the liberty to dedicate thein. Had it - not been for the ready concurrence of the fociety, and the active co-operation of Mr Rufell, and the other leading members of ihe congregation, who concurred with every proposal that I made, neither this course of exposition, nor the system of catechetical leatures to the young people, with the appointment of elders to allilt me in it, or the establidhment of your congregational library, . could have been carried into execution. But by this means all my schemes for improving the dil. cipline, and promoting the edification, of the soci. ety had the advantage of the fairelt trial; and being found, in some good measure, to answer the valuble ends proposed by them, they have been adopted by other societies in different parts of the kingdom.

Happy will it be for the christian world in general when all christian societies shall adopt whatever promises to tend to their edification, and

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vie with each other which shall set the best exam. ple to the rest; not from a spirit of ambition, or vain glory, but simply to provoke to love and to good works; each shepherd (as christian ministers are usually termed) feeding, according to the language of our Saviour, the lambs, as well as the sheep of their respective flocks, till the chief shepherd shall appear, when he will distinguish by his favour thofe who shall have distinguished themselves as his servants during his absence from us. As I have no expectation of seeing you any more in this life, may we fo conduct ourselves in our separation from each other as to secure a happy meeting in another. Į subscribe myself, Your former pallor,

and at all times,

your christian friend,

JOSEPH PRIESTLEY.

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