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ROBERT VAUGHAN, D.D.
JACKSON, WALFORD, AND HODDER,
ST. PAUL'S CHURCHYARD.
100. p. 59.
The Exodus of nearly two thousand ministers from their cures in the Church of England, as an act of fidelity to conscience in 1662, was an event fraught with weighty lessons to the Christian, and which should not be without interest to the Philosopher and the Statesman.
In the autumn of last year the Conimittee of the Congregational Union of England and Wales resolved to convene an assembly of pastors and delegates from the different parts of the kingdom, to deliberate on what should be done in commemoration of that event. One decision of that assembly was, that a volume should be issued on that chapter in our national history, considered in its relation to our earlier ecclesiastical annals, and to our modern Nonconformity. The present publication owes its origin to that decision.
But it is proper to state that the responsibility of the Committee appointed to carry that resolution into effect is restricted to their having entrusted this service to my hands. No one besides myself is in the slightest degree accountable for any statement or expression that will be found in these pages. The volume, I believe, expresses opinions and feelings which are common among English Congregationalists, but no individual is bound by anything I have written.
Our spiritual forefathers may not have been perfect men, but my impression is, that, take them for all in all, neither the world nor the church has seen such men elsewhere in modern times. No small effort has been made of late to detract from their just claim on our gratitude and admiration. If I have written somewhat largely in their defence, the reason will be obvious.
It is with a full foresight of the hostile criticism to which the results of my labour may be exposed that I commit them to the press. But in the battle of opinion, the place of a book is generally determined according to its merit. The man who is not prepared calmly to abide that issue should not challenge it. It must suffice for me to say, that I have endeavoured to acquit myselt honestly towards the dead, and usefully towards
St. John's TERRACE, REGENT'S PARK,
Oct. 4, 1862.