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TO THE RIGHT HONOURABLE
HENRY EARL OF HUNTINGDON,
LORD HASTINGS, HUNGERFORD, BOTREAUX, MOLINES, AND
ALL INCREASE OF TRUE HONOUR, AND HEAVEN BEGUN
RIGHT HONOURABLE, I HAVE undertaken a great task-to teach men how to be happy in this life. I have undertaken, and performed it. Wherein I have followed Seneca ; and gone beyond him : followed him, as a philosopher ; gone beyond him, as a Christian, as a divine : finding it a true censure of the best moralists, that they were like to goodly ships, graced with great titles, the Safeguard, the Triumph, the Goodspeed, and such like ; when yet they have been both extremely sea-beaten, and at last wrecked. The volume is little; perhaps the use, more. I have ever thought, according to the Greek proverb, μέγα βιβλίον μέγα κακόν.* What it is, even justice challengeth it to him, to whom the author hath devoted himself. The children of the bondman are the goods of the parent's master. I humbly betake it to your Honour's protection, and your Honour to the protection of the Highest.
Your Honour's most humbly devoted,
in all duty and service,
* A great book is a great evil.