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145

To the Right Honourable Robert, Earl of Warwick,11   This nobleman is represented by Neal as having been “the greatest patron of the Puritans.” He was admiral of the parliamentary fleet. He seized on the ships belonging to the king, and during the whole course of the war made use of them against the royal interest. Owen had received the presentation to Coggeshall from this nobleman, whose upright and amiable character was celebrated long after his death under the designation of The Good Earl of Warwick. — Ed. etc.

My Lord,

It is not for the benefit of any protection to the ensuing treatise, — let it stand or fall as it shall be found in the judgments of men; nor that I might take advantage to set forth any of that worth and honour which, being personal, have truly ennobled your lordship, and made a way for the delivering over of your family unto posterity with an eminent lustre added to the roll of your worthy progenitors, — which, if by myself desired, my unfitness to perform must needs render unacceptable in the performance; neither yet have I the least desire to attempt a farther advancement of myself into your lordship’s favour, being much beneath what I have already received, and fully resolved to own no other esteem among the sons of men but what shall be accounted due (be it more or less) to the discharge of my duty to my master, Jesus Christ, whose wholly I would be; — it is not all, nor one of these, nor any such as these, the usual subjects and ends of dedications, real or pretended, that prevailed upon me unto this boldness of prefixing your honoured name to this ensuing treatise (which yet, for the matter’s sake contained in it, I cannot judge unworthy of any Christian eye); but only that I might take the advantage to testify (as I do) to all the world the answering of my heart unto that obligation which your lordship was pleased to put upon me, in the undeserved, undesired favour of opening that door wherewith you are intrusted, to give me an entrance to that place for the preaching of the gospel whither I was directed by the providence of the Most High, and where I was sought by his people. In which place this I dare say, by the grace of God, that such a stock of prayers and thankfulness as your heart, which hath learned to value the least of Christ, in whomsoever it be, will not despise, is tendered to and for your lordship, even on his behalf who is less than the least of all the saints of God, and unworthy the name which yet he is bold to subscribe himself by, — Your honour’s most obliged servant in the service of Jesus Christ,

John Owen.


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