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To the honourable and my very worthy friend, Colonel Henry Cromwell.
The ensuing sermon was preached upon as sad an occasion as on any particular account hath been given to this nation in this our generation. It is now published, as at the desire of very many who love the savour of that perfume which is diffused with the memory of the noble person peculiarly mentioned therein, so also upon the requests of such others as enables me justly to entitle the doing of it, obedience. Being come abroad, it was in my thoughts to have directed it immediately, in the first place, to her who, of any individual person, was most nearly concerned in him. But having observed how near she hath been to be swallowed up of sorrow, and what slow progress He who took care to seal up instruction to her soul by all dispensations, hath given her hitherto towards a conquest thereof, I was not willing to offer directly a new occasion unto the multitude of her perplexed thoughts about this thing. No doubt, her loss being as great as it could be, upon the account of one subject to the law of mortality, as many grains of grief and sorrow are to be allowed her in the balance of the sanctuary as God doth permit to be laid out and dispended about any of the sons of men. He who is able to make sweet the bitterest waters, and to give a gracious issue to the most grievous trial, will certainly, in due time, eminently bring forth that good upon her spirit which he is causing all these things to work together for. In the meantime, sir, these lines are to you: your near relation to that rare example of righteousness, faith, holiness, zeal, courage, self-denial, love to his country, wisdom, and industry, mentioned in the ensuing sermon; — the mutual tender affection between you whilst he was living; — your presence with him in his last trial and conflict; — the deserved regard you bear to his worth and memory; — your design of looking into and following after his steps and purpose in the work of God in his generation, as such an accomplished pattern as few ages have produced the like, — with many other reasons of the like nature, did easily induce me hereunto. That which is here printed is but the notes which I first took, not having had leisure since to give them a serious perusal; and upon that account must beg a candid interpretation unto any thing that may appear not so well digested therein as might be expected. I have not any thing to express concerning yourself, but only my desire that your heart may be fixed to the Lord God of your fathers; and that, in the 344midst of all your temptations and oppositions wherewith your pilgrimage will be attended, you may be carried on and established in your inward subjection unto, and outward contending for, the kingdom of the Dearly Beloved of our souls, not fainting or waxing weary until you receive your dismission to rest for your lot in the end of the days.
Your most humble and affectionate Servant,
Oxon, Chr. Ch., April 2.
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