the Youngest puritan

Publisher's Note to The First Edition of Gray's Works

As the following Sermons of the Rev. Andrew Gray, were printed only from the Notes of others, they are, in many places, not very accurately handed down. Innumerable typographical errors have also disfigured the former editions, in some cases so far as to render the sense well nigh unintelligible. Some of the first sheets of this edition were printed off before means were adopted, to rectify these errors; but the whole remaining parts have been carefully revised, some hundreds of typographical errors corrected, and ‘the sense has been made intelligible', as far as was consistent with preserving the words of the author.
The following passage from a preface to a former edition, will explain the means by which the Sermons of Gray were preserved to posterity. “As to this little piece, whatever ye shall find in it, it hath this to say for itself, that whereas many writings in the world do intrude themselves upon the press, yet this the press hath violently thrust into the world; for some young student, from his good affection to the edification of the Lord’s people, and, no doubt, from his high esteem of the precious author’s memory, having given into the press a copy of some of these Sermons, being only Notes taken from his mouth when he preached them; no sooner were they seen abroad, but all the presses in the nation fell a labouring about them; so that, if we mistake not, in less than two or three months time, three or four impressions were cast off, yet all of them so imperfect and maimed, that howbeit the excellency of the matter, and the fresh remembrance of the worthy author’s name, made them very sweet to many, especially those who heard him preach; yet the unsuitable dress wherein they appeared, and the mistakes of the first writers (they being hardly able to take up every thing as it was spoken) occasioned diverse material failings in the sense, besides lesser faults, which could not but be a trouble to those who were acquainted not only with the singular graces, but parts, also, of the eminent youth. This gave occasion to some friends to speak a little what way these prejudices which both the truth and the author’s name might lie under, by these incorrect impressions, might be taken off. And finding that the copy, which by Providence, the worthy young gentlewoman who was his wife, had lying by her, though it was but notes taken from his mouth, yet was the most correct that could be found; and that also it did contain the whole purposes that he had preached upon these texts, yea, the whole purposes concerning faith that he had preached, according to that method proposed in the first of the Sermons formerly published, this was undertaken to be revised by some, who, albeit none of the fittest for these employments, yet rather than nothing should be done in the business, were content to bestow some hours upon it, according as other necessary employments would permit.
And now having sought out all the notes of these Sermons which we could find from other hands, and compared them with the copy above-mentioned, we do again present them to the people, not with any confidence that our pains have put any effect upon them: only we have some hopes, the whole subject being now before them, and those things in the way of expression helped, which either might seem to be somewhat unpleasant, or liable to mistakes, they shall not now be less edifying, nor less acceptable, than formerly they were. We did not think fit to make any considerable alterations as to the method, or other things of that kind, lest haply by straining his excellent purposes too much, to shape them to the ordinary rules, or to reduce them to that order which might have pleased ourselves, we should have wronged the matter itself, or at least have put them to a loss who did hear him preach.”

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