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HONOURABLE AND RIGHT REVEREND
JAMES YORK, D.D.
LORD BISHOP OF ELY.
WHEN, five years ago, an important station
in the University of Cambridge awaited your Lordship's disposal, you were pleased to offer it to me. The circumstances, under which this offer was made, demand a publick acknowledgement. I had never seen your Lordship; I possessed no connexion which could possibly recommend me to your favour; I was known to you, only by my endeavours, in common with many others, to discharge my duty as a tutor in the University; and by some very imperfect, but certainly well intended, and, as you thought, useful publications since. In an age by no means wanting in examples of honourable patronage, although this deserve not to be mentioned in respect of the object of your Lordship's choice, it is inferiour to none, in the purity and disinterestedness of the motives which suggested it.
How the following work may be received, I pretend not to foretell. My first prayer concerning it is, that it may do good to any: my second hope, that it may assist, what it hath always been
my earnest wish to promote, the religious part of an academical education. If in this latter view it might seem, in any degree, to excuse your Lordship's judgment of its author, I shall be gratified by the reflection, that, to a kindness flowing from publick principles, I have made the best publick return in my power.
In the mean time, and in every event, I rejoice in the opportunity here afforded me, of testifying the sense I entertain of your Lordship's conduct, and of a notice which I regard as the most flattering distinction of my life.
With sentiments of gratitude and respect,
Your Lordship's faithful,
And most obliged servant,
Preparatory Considerations.—Of the antecedent credibility