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employed bimself in selecting prayers and hymns from the most approved writers ; altered many of the former to suit his own ideas of devotional composition so much as to make them almost his own, and occasionally added whole passages from the stores of his own mind. Family prayer was regularly practised twice a day, and the private exercises of devotion occupied considerable portions of every returning morning and evening.
Anxious to leave behind him what might be most serviceable to his survivors, and promote the interests of true piety, be consulted several of his friends as to the expediency of printing some of his prayers, and affording the public an opportunity of reaping the fruit of his labours without trouble, and at a moderate expense. Amongst the persons whom he deemed competent to give him advice upon this point, he did the Editor the honour of numbering him; and, at various intervals, longer or shorter, for nearly three years, the subject was freely and fully discussed. Could he have
been induced to adopt the advice of this. Jast friend, he would have appeared before the public in his own person-presented his prayers to them with his own hand and after having assigned his reasons for thus offering himself to their notice, he would have given them a clear and faithful relation of the principal acts and occurrences of his eventful, interesting, and useful life. But as modesty and diffidence are frequent accompaniments of great and exalted merit, so it was in his case. He seemed to shrink from the idea of publicity, and was much more anxious to be good than to appear so. Though reminded of the sacred injunction to “ let his light shine before him," and bowing with humble reverence to the authority upon which it was founded, he yet deeply dreaded any thing like an imputation of vanity and ostentation. From these opposing motives he became indecisive, and the persuasions of his relatives and friends were unable to overcome the irresolution which they occasioned.
Since, however, it was manifest as well from his letters as his conversation upon
the subject, both at other times and but a short space before his decease, that it was the prevailing desire of his mind that his · devotional exercises should be offered to
the public after his death, if not before, his will has been complied with, and now, as there is no danger of giving him pain by a fair exhibition of his virtues, and placing his character in its true light, that reserve which would have been most becoming, and indeed an act of justice to his feelings when living, lias been dispensed with as no longer required either by delicacy, propriety, or the purest respect and esteem. The public are requested to receive him in his works as a zealous friend of the best interests of inankind, -as one who is desirous of conciliating their regards with a simple view to confer upon them the most valuable favours in his power.
Having only hinted before, particularly when speaking of his friend Dr. Priestley, and the congregation over which that gentleman presided, what religious sentiments Mr. Russell embraced, I shall now inform
my readers that he was, upon conviction, grounded on diligent and patient enquiry, a firm believer in the personal as well as essential unity of the eternal God; and, though sometime after he discarded the doctrine of a plurality of persons, he was much perplexed and very undecided as to lhe nature and oflice of Jesus Christ, yet the result of his reading and reflections upon these points was, his being couviuced that Jesus was not only the Christ, but that i the human was the nature, and the only nature, of which the Messiah partook. His office he believed to be that of a mediator between God and men, that he was fully entitled to the name and character of a Saviour, a Redeemer, an Advocate, an Intercessor, inasmuch as his first and chief object was to preserve men from the influence of sinful habits, by holding out ample encouragement to reform and amend, assuring thein that God was perfectly good, and disposed at all times to grant good things to then that ask him ; giving commission also to his Apostles to go into all nations to proclaim repentance and remission of sins, or,
in other words, that repentance was at once an indispensible condition, and a certain means of obtaining forgiveness at the hands of God.
It has been frequently alleged that such a belief is not competent either to produce active lively devotion, persevering goodness of conduct, or exemplary and composed firmness and resignation at the approach of dissolution ; but the life and character of our author annul and invali. date all such allegations. Though an Unitarian Christian, in the strictest sense of the expression, he was yet eminently pious and devout, indefatigably intent upon doing good to mankind, and promoting the honour of God and the cause of true religion in the world. The unlookedfor changes of his life, together with increasing age diminished indeed in some measure his practical activity, and made him more anxious to court the shade of retirement; yet, to those who were well acquainted with him, there was visibly conspicuous the same zealous wish for the