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PUBLISHED BY THE UNITARIAN SOCIETY FOR PROMOTING CHRISTIAN KNOW.
LEDGE AND THE PRACTICE OF VIRTUE, BY THE DISTRIBUTION OF BOOKS.
No offence can justly be taken for this new labour; nothing prejudicing any other man's
Archbishop Parker's Preface to the Bishops' Bible.
HURST, REES, ORME, AND BROWN, PATERNOSTER-ROW; AND D, EATON,
In the year 1791, a Society was formed in London, the professed , design of which was to promote religious knowledge and the practice of virtue by the distribution of books. Of that Society, from its first origin, it has always been a principal object to publish an Improved Version of the Holy Scriptures, and particularly of the New Testament. With this view a deputation of the Society was commissioned about twelve years ago to wait upon the late pious and learned Gilbert Wakefield, to request his permission to republish and to circulate his new and accurate Translation of the New Testament at the expense of the Society; to which that gentleman most readily expressed his assent, and at the same time promised to revise his translation with great care, and to give it to the Society in its most perfect state. It appeared, however, in the sequel, that the engagement into which he had entered with his bookseller upon the publica. tion of his second edition precluded him from fulfilling his promise to the Society till that edition was disposed of. In the mean time those unfortunate events took place which are but too well known to the public; and, to the great and irreparable loss of religion and litera. ture, the life of that eminent scholar was closed in the midst of its career.
After the decease of Mr. Wakefield, it being found impracticable to make use of his Translation, the design for some time lay dor. mant, till it was resumed by another Society in the West of England, which was formed upon the same principles with the Society in London. This effort proved abortive in consequence of the sudden and much lamented removal of that active, zealous, and persevering advocate of pure and uncorrupted christianity, the late reverend and learned Timothy Kenrick of Exeter.
The design, however, of publishing an Improved Version of the New Testament was never totally abandoned: and it was resumed with great unanimity and spirit at the annual meeting of the London So. ciety, in April 1806, when a Committee was appointed, consisting of all the ministers who were members of the Society, together with some gentlemen of the laity, to carry the intentions of the Society into