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blessing of God upon them, the introduction or diffusion of another fatal disease amongst us, which is calculated to have carried off, in various parts of the world, as many as fifty millions of our fellow creatures within the last fourteen years !—In particular we may observe, that at the period referred to those prayers were first introduced, which are now by public authority again used amongst us.

I purchased for sixpence the little volume I have described : and, on perusing it, found it to contain, in the form of a history of a family shut up in London at the time, an Account of the great plague of A. D. 1665, which is highly interesting and affecting, and at the same time free from those minute and revolting descriptions, which sometimes make us turn away from such narratives with horror. This is followed by a series of Conversations between the members of another family, exposed to the same awful visitation, on the spiritual preparation requisite to fortify the mind in the prospect of such a calamity, and to secure our meeting it unharmed, if it should really come.

Several friends to whom I lent the volume,

| Christian Observer, Nov. 1831..

read it with no less gratification than it had afforded me: and, during the many years that I have now had a family about me, it has been so much a favourite among them, that I found I could seldom afford a greater. treat to my children, than by allowing them the use of “ The Plague Book."

The Conversations I conceive to be of a highly useful character, as well as entertaining. Very forcibly indeed do they seem to me to press upon the conscience the necessity of living prepared for death and eternity ; strikingly illustrating the happy effects of so doing on the one hand, and, on the other, the unhappy consequences which follow from the neglect of it, whenever danger arises.

On these grounds, and in consideration of the scarcity of the book of which I have never seen, or, properly speaking, heard of another copy_1 I have often entertained may

1 In the Gentleman's Magazine for 1825 appeared, in the numbers for April and July, some extracts from the narrative portion of both parts of the work-communicated by Mr. W. Hamilton Reid. That gentleman, however, did not point out the source from which he had derived them; but only observed that they were not in any popular author that he had read,” but were among the many traits of former times collected during his limited researches into the antiquities of the great city." From the Gentleman's, the first, at least, of the extracts was transferred to the pages of the Youth's Magazine-an evidence that it was esteemed interesting.

the thoughts of reprinting it, at least in an abridged form. This, however, has hitherto remained among my unexecuted purposes. I hope the work may have been reserved for a time when it be more seasonable, and therefore more useful. To young persons, in particular, I dare promise that it will afford much interesting information; while I hope it may at the same time, by the blessing God, make very salutary impressions on their hearts.

In republishing, however, I have not thought it necessary to give the whole of the volume. It contains discussion on the contagious nature of the plague, (which was then disputed, as that of the Cholera is now,) and many things on medical and economical provision against it, which do not concern general readers, or perhaps readers of any class in the present day. All these therefore I have dropped ; and other parts I have abridged: thus reducing the former division of the work by more than one half. The latter division admitted of less retrenchment: though this also is reduced in size.


As no known author was answerable for the work, I have felt myself at full liberty to correct the language, where this appeared to be necessary. It is written in an easy, natural, and lively style, but with considerable grammatical inaccuracy, especially in the pointing and division of the sentences. This I have endeavoured to remove : but I have in no case knowingly altered the sentiment.

The period at which the volume was published was an unfavourable one, respects pure Christian light and knowledge. The extravagances of the times preceding the restoration, and the profane and licentious reign of Charles II. which followed, had conspired to bring devout religion, and evangelical truth, into disrepute and oblivion : from which they had not yet emerged again. Hence it might be supposed that the religious principles of the work would need some correction. To a certain degree, though much short of what would perhaps have been expected, this is the case; and I have attempted to supply that correction in notes, in a manner which I hope may assist those whose views are not yet fully formed. But the fact is, that the writer's principles are essentially sound

and good. He admits some expressions which may be a little revolting to our ears, and he defers too long the distinct enunciation of the Gospel ; but it is at length developed, and applied in a very delightful manner. The temper and state of mind which are described as being produced, and as alone constituting the right preparation for meeting the pestilence in peace, or, in other words, for death and eternity, are, in my judgment, thoroughly Christian, and formed upon Christian principles. With the slight corrections, therefore, which are here furnished, I can confidently commit the book to the reader—commending both him and it to the blessing of Almighty God.


I subjoin one paragraph from the Author's preface. After adverting to the “ proclamations, orders of council, directions for ships performing quarantine,” at the period in which he wrote; and even to Parliament's “ putting the nation to the expense

6 of £25,000, to burn two Turkish ships which were suspected to have goods on board that might contain the infection," he proceeds: “ With respect to our religious preparations

I have seen, I may say, nothing at all offered to the public. On the contrary, the

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