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THAT Dr. Doddridge ranks with the brightest ornaments of
the British nation, and of the christian church, as a man of piety, a scholar, and a divine, appears abundantly evident from the ample Memoirs of him contained in this volume, composed by one who resided long in his family, and whose integrity of narration has never been impeached.
Respecting the value of our Author's writings, in general, there is but one opinion; the sun, indeed, is not without spots, but what are these compared with the general excellence and use of that illustrious luminary? His works are popular to a more extensive degree than is common to the most admired authors; while they often charm by critical precision, they convince by powerful argument, please by a lucid method, and warm by ardour of devotion.
The FAMILY EXPOSITOR has passed through eight editions, which is no small proof of public approbation. As an Expositor, uniting the plain import of the text, supported by learned and elegant criticism, and a judicious animated improvement, our author probably has no superior in any language. His sermons and other works, many of which have been often reprinted, are alike directed to inform the judgment, to affect the heart, and to regulate the life. All, who are acquainted with the works of Doddridge, know that they form some of the most masterly defences of christianity, and that they are eminently calculated to expose the unreasonableness of infidelity, and to fortify the mind against the insidious efforts of sceptical philosophers. Hitherto the EXPOSITOR has been published in six volumes, either quarto or octavo, it is now comprised in five.
Although the Doctor's Works have been variously published, no uniform edition of them all has yet appeared; but, in the present publication, this desirable object is effected, in which also uniformity is united with elegance and cheapness. About twenty volumes, in different forms, including Orton's Life of the Author, are given in ten royal octavos; beside numerous
notes by the Editors, affixed to those parts of the work which seem most to require them.
Many must be possessed of the Family Expositor who would like to obtain the other parts, which we call "Detached Works," in order to complete their sets; to meet their wishes, these are now printed in five volumes, on a good demy paper, exactly uniform in size with the octavo editions of the Expositor already published.
We may observe, that, in the life, the reader will find several notes from Dr. Kippis's Memoirs of the Author, which contain some interesting facts, omitted by Mr. Orton, or lead to profitable reflections. In the Lectures on Divinity and other Subjects, will be also found many original notes, beside the most valuable hints and references from Dr. Kippis's edition.
Doddridge's Preaching Lectures have been an object of considerable attention among ministers, but were never printed. It is extremely difficult to find a correct copy of them; the editors flatter themselves, however, that the copy from which they print them will be found one of the best. To this work, also, are added occasional notes.
As Dr. D's. correspondence was both extensive and often highly interesting, it might be expected, that many of his letters would be found worthy of publication. Accordingly the Rev. Mr. Stedman, has published a volume of Letters to and from Dr. Doddridge, which have been well received; the best of these written by our Author will be included in the "Detached Works."
To the fifth volume of these works will be added, a com plete Index, on the most approved plan; and all the appropriate Indexes to the Family Expositor, will be found at the end of the tenth volume; by which arrangement, those who take the Detached Works only will have them under every advantage of an entire publication.
The liberal encouragement received from the public in general, and some learned persons of distinguished rank in particular, enables us to present them with a work, which in no small degree secures, at a very moderate price, respectability of execution; and which, while it excites our gratitude to the Great Author of all success, will continue to animate exertion in the progress of our undertaking.