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presented the beginning of this work to your predecessor, my then diocesan, so now I lay this last and finishing part of it at your Lordship's feet: not doubting but that your Lordship, who is an encourager of good literature and ancient learning, will give it your favourable acceptance and approbation. I have the more reason to hope for this, because out of your great good nature and condescension, your Lordship has always been an encourager of the undertaking, as I have been made sensible by happy experiment, in many years' distant correspondence with you. The work, I hope, is of general use, and will meet with a general acceptance among all those, who are without prejudice true lovers of ancient learning. A noble lord was once pleased to tell me, he had sent it into Scotland by the hands of a great man of the assembly: though what approbation it meets with there, I cannot say. But I can speak it with more satisfaction, that our worthy primate was once pleased to acquaint me in private conversation, that he himself had sent it to the professors of Geneva, who returned him their thanks, together with their approbation. And if it be well accepted there, there is some reason to hope it may be accepted in most other Protestant Churches, and be a little means to bring them to a nearer union to the Church of England in some points, for which some parts of the work are particularly designed. A late author has thought fit to epitomise some part of it, for the service, as he says, of his poor brethren of the clergy: though I fear, for the reasons I have been forced to give against his undertaking, it will prove of no service, but rather hurtful to them. But if he, or any other person of ability would undertake to translate the whole into Latin, now that it is finished and completed, that might perhaps be of more general use to all the Protestant Churches. And in the mean time our poor brethren, if it please God to bless me with health, shall not want such an epitome, if it be needful, as is proper for their information.
And now, my Lord, that I have made mention of my own health, I cannot but with hearty prayers to God most sincerely wish yours, for the good things you have already done to this diocese, and more that may be expected, if it shall please God to confirm your health, in such a state, as may enable you to go through the great work you want no will to perform. The reducing the exorbitant fees of this diocese to a proper standard, is a thing that will never be forgotten by your poor brethren, who will always feel the sweet effect of it. Your encouragement given to the meanest clergymen to write to yourself in person, and not to any officers, upon business relating to the Church, is a singular instance of your good nature and condescension ; and also a sure method to prevent corruption. Your care to inform yourself of the character and worth of your clergy, with a view to the promotion of such as have long laboured ditigently in great cures, or small livings, is a method that cannot fail of giving a new life and spirit to all such, as may reasonably hope that their merits and labours will not
always be overlooked and despised; but that they may in due time find their reward both in ease and advancement from so kind an inspector.
That you may have health and long life to proceed in such good acts, and all other offices of your function, I believe is the wish of all your clergy: I am sure it is the hearty prayer of him, who is,
Your most dutiful
and obedient servant,
JOSEPH BINGHAM. But as
NINTH AND TENTH (BEING THE TWO LAST) VOLUMES
IN THE ORIGINAL EDITION.
WHEN I had finished these two volumes, and completed the whole work that I intended, and sent it to the press, hoping to give myself a little ; rést and vacation from hard labour; I was immediately called to a new work by a Book that was sent me, bearing the title of, Ecclesiæ Primitive Notitia, or a Summary of Christian Antiquities.* To which is prefixed an Index Hæreticus, containing a short account of All the principal heresies since the rise of Christianity; and subjoined, a Brief Account of the Eight first General Councils, dedicated to the venerable Society for Propagating the Gospel in Foreign Parts, by A. Blackamore in Two Volumes 8vo. Lond. 1722. I confess, I was very much surprised at first with the title and epistle dedicatory, thinking it to be some new work, that had done some mighty thing, either in correcting my mistakes, or supplying my deficiencies, after twenty years hard labour in compiling my Origines for the use of the Church. as I looked into the Preface, and a little into the Book itself, I found it to be only a Transcript of some part of my Origines, under the notion of an Epitome, though no such thing is said in the Title Page. This seems to be an art of the gentleman, and the ten booksellers that are in combination with him, to render my books unuseful, and his own more valuable, as containing all I have said and something more at a less price; which he says will be of use to those poor clergymen and others, whose genius and inclination lie towards antiquity, but are not able to purchase my books for the dearness of them. But the gentleman imposes very much upon poor readers in saying this, upon two accounts: first, in pretending that he gives them an Epitome of my Whole Work, when yet there were two volumes still behind, which he could have no opportunity to epitomize, because they were not printed. He says indeed in his preface, that I had happily completed my Whole Work in Eight Volumes, and gives it an higher commendation and Elogium, than perhaps it really deserves: but where he learned, that I had finished my work in eight volumes, I cannot understand, I am surelhadadvertised the readers and him among the rest, that I intended two volumes more, which I now give them to complete my design. So that this gentleman deceives his poor brethren, when he pretends to give them an Epitome of the whole, when it is only în part; and he must put them to the charge of another volume to make even his Epitome complete, But-secondly, if this gentleman was &Q concerned for his poor brethren, why did he make his Epitome so large ? The substance of my books for the use of such men might be brought into much less compass: there needed no authorities to have been cited for their use who have no books to examine and compare them, but they might have rested upon the authority of the compiler; whose authority they may more decently and honestly use upon any occasion, than the authority of Fathers and Councils, which our author, with me, very well supposes they have no opportunity to see. And further, if our author meant to
* By A. Blackamore. Lond. 1722.