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TO THE RIGHT HONOURABLE

EDWARD EARL OF CLARENDON,

LORD HIGH-CHANCELLOR OF ENGLAND, AND CHANCELLOR OF
THE UNIVERSITY OF OXON, AND ONE OF HIS MAJESTY’S
MOST HONOURABLE PRIVY COUNCIL.

My Lord,

THOUGH to prefix so great a name to so mean a piece seems like enlarging the entrance of an house that affords no reception; yet since there is nothing can warrant the publication of it, but what can also command it, the work must think of no other patronage than the same that adorns and protects its author. Some indeed vouch great names, because they think they deserve; but I, because I need such: and had I not more occasion than many others to see and converse with your lordship’s candour and proneness to pardon, there is none had greater cause to dread your judgment; and thereby in some part I venture to commend my own. For all know, who know your lord ship, that in a nobler respect, than either that of government or patronage, you represent and head the best of universities; and have travelled over too many nations and authors to encourage any one that understands himself, to appear an author in your hands, who seldom read any books 2to inform yourself, but only to countenance and credit them. But, my lord, what is here published pretends no instruction, but only homage; while it teaches many of the world, it only describes your lordship, who have made the ways of labour and virtue, of doing, and doing good, your business and your recreation, your meat and your drink, and, I may add also, your sleep. My lord, the subject here treated of is of that nature, that it would seem but a chimera, and a bold paradox, did it not in the very front carry an instance to exemplify it; and so by the dedication convince the world, that the discourse itself was not impracticable. For such ever was, and is, and will be the temper of the generality of mankind, that, while I send men for pleasure, to religion, I cannot but expect, that they will look upon me, as only having a mind to be pleasant with them myself: nor are men to be worded into new tempers or constitutions: and he that thinks that any one can persuade, but He that made the world, will find that he does not well understand it.

My lord, I have obeyed your command, for such must I account your desire; and thereby design, not so much the publication of my sermon, as of my obedience: for, next to the supreme pleasure described in the ensuing discourse, I enjoy none greater, than in having any opportunity to declare myself,

Your lordship’s very humble servant,

and obliged chaplain,

ROBERT SOUTH.

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