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ADVERTISEMENT TO THE SECOND
At the request of some friends who had purchased the First Edition of this work, a further selection has been made from Mrs. Hawkes's papers, of such remains of the late Rev. Richard Cecil, as may be interesting to the public. This further selection is added, in the Second Edition, to the former Appendix : but it is also printed separately, for the use of those friends who may wish to bind it together with the First Edition.
The Christian experience of Mrs. Hawkes which is now presented to the Public, possesses a character common to that of other believers, as it may be traced to the operation of the Holy Spirit. On this account it ought to be considered precious in itself; apart from those considerations which, in the present instance, concur to render it valuable to others. It is not often that so many advantages unite to render the experience of a Christian profitable to the public in general. To find the deepest views of the evil of sin, in a person whose moral character was, through life, the mos exemplary ;-the clearest views of the doctrines of grace, with a strict and conscientious regard to their practical tendency ;—the strongest and most simple faith, ever in connection with the penitence of her who washed the Saviour's feet with her tears ;-a love to God truly filial, ever blended with a reverential fear; and a humility which was as the clothing of her soul;
-to find the clieerful affectionate friend, ever administering to others, in the same person with the oppressed and afflicted sufferer,-where patience had, by means of constant trial, its perfect work :-these are fruits of the Spirit so precious in themselves, and so rare in their combination, that they require to be made manifest. “ Is a candle brought to be put under a bushel, or under a bed ? and not to be set on a candlestick?”
The subject of this Memoir was little known out of her own circle. But the same reasons which induced the inspired writers to record the name of Lydia, " whose heart the Lord opened to attend to the things spoken by Paul," apply strongly to the present case. Thus also the Scripture speaks of “ the woman named Damaris," and of “ Dionysius the Areopagite," of whom nothing is recorded except that they “ believed.” This may appear of little consequence to the world: but the Holy Spirit thus teaches us that the greatest works go on in the secret chambers of the heart, and in private life. When our Saviour bruised Satan's Empire—the greatest work that men or angels ever beheld,—the field of action was narrow, and the world saw little in it to attract attention. Yet to the eye of faith, there is presented in the confined spot of Calvary, a stupendous work of power, wisdom, and goodness, which “ Angels desire to look into.” And among the names recorded on that solemn occasion, we find those of the few women who attended our Saviour's crucifixion, and who were properly affected by that sight. Matt. xxvii. 56.- Luke xxiii. 48.
Another inducement to the publication of these Memoirs is, that Mrs. Hawkes's records of her experience are left, (without the least idea on her part of their ever seeing the light, but as the natural result of her cultivated and intelligent mind,) in a form suited both to delight and profit the serious Reader. In this history there is not much variety of incident. The design of the work is to exhibit the spiritual exercises of her mind, and to follow out her Christian experience under a continued course of affliction.
The Sermons and other materials in this compilation, which may appear foreign to the Memoir, have not, properly speaking, been introduced by the Biographer. They were found so interspersed and interwoven in almost every page of Mrs. Hawkes's diary, that it would have been difficult to separate them. It is however believed that they will be found interesting and instructive. The same must be observed respecting the various allusions to Mr. Cecil's family, (of which Mrs. HAWKES was for several years a member,) and which could not have been omitted without breaking the thread of her private experience and history.
Neither must it be forgotten that the fine character of Mrs. Hawkes was developed under the immediate training of Mr. Cecil's ministry and converse. She was a “ plant of his hand, a child of his prayer;" and it is not surprising that where there existed the relation of spiritual father and daughter, there should result a degree of mental and moral affinity, giving colour to Mrs. Hawkes's intellectual and religious character, and appearing in her remains.
In Mrs. Hawkes's correspondence there will be found a beautiful specimen of the communion of saints; all the letters introduced contain some practical instruction, and breathe the pure spirit of Christianity. She was a person fraught with so much sympathy, and so deeply exercised in the school of affliction, that every mourner sought to her as a general friend. Both her verbal and written admonitions ever contained the most judicious counsel, and were delivered in the most benevolent and affectionate manner.
In the early part of the work there is a large selection from the letters of Mrs. Hawkes's sister, Mrs. Jones,—who was also a very eminent Christian. Her style of writing is both lively and interesting ; and her Letters ever present religion in an elevating and encouraging point of view.
Should it seem to any one unacquainted with Mrs. Hawkes, that her character has been drawn by partiality, it is here seriously affirmed, that every statement has been made from an entire conviction of its truth; and under a deep sense of the solemn obligations under which a Biographer lies, to add nothing in a way of panegyric.
There are not many who have been favoured with equal opportunities with myself of knowing intimately the Deceased, or of partaking so largely of her instructions. It was perhaps a duty, when intrusted with her manuscript books and papers, not to hide the talent in a napkin; but rather to “gather up the fragments" left by this valuable character, and present them to the public in the form of a MEMOIR.
The employment has furnished both delight and improvement. It is impossible to trace closely " the path of the just” without being cheered, as well as directed, by the light which shines upon it. If a regret arises that a stronger hand was not employed to hold up this shining light to others, it may be remembered, that a lamp loses nothing of its light from being carried by a feeble hand.
May the Great Head of the Church condescend to accept, and bless, what has been now done in dependence upon His grace; making it conduce to the encouragement and assistance of his members upon earth, and especially to the promotion of his own glory.