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SELDOM has the decease of an individual in any class of society made a deeper impression on the public mind than that which has been produced by the death of Mr. HALL; and proportioned to that impression is the earnest frequency of inquiry respecting the complete edition of his published works, and his unpublished remains.
This is not the proper place to attempt the delineation of Mr. HALL'S intellectual or general character. For many years have persons of every rank and denomination expressed their admiration of his talents, and formed a very high estimate of his exertions in the promotion of truth and virtue. Although a dissenter, and betraying no disposition to shrink from the avowal of whatever sentiment or practice he adopted, he was not the exclusive property of any party; and as his writings, in the main, involved no peculiarities of religious opinion, he justly received the cordial approbation of the wise and the good; while even the bigoted and the skeptical, however they might dislike his principles, were compelled to do homage to his genius, and often to yield to the persuasive force of his eloquence.
A disorder with which Mr. HALL was afflicted from his childhood, and which always rendered the act of writing irksome and painful, prevented him from publishing so much as might otherwise have been expected; his avowed publications, however, are far from inconsiderable in point of magnitude. Besides these, there are several pieces on miscellaneous topics, of different degrees of interest, some of them published on special occasions, which were circulated without his name, and were known to be his only by his intimate friends: of some of these, indeed, it has been difficult to procure a single copy. In addition to the miscellaneous pieces just referred to, there are early compositions of Mr. HALL, written when he was about the age of twenty, which will be read with great interest by those who love to trace the growth of an intellect like his from its earliest bloom to its full maturity. Of the works best known, and most highly valued, some are entirely out of print, while others have reappeared only in unauthorized editions. It has therefore been thought due, alike to the memory of Mr. HALL, to the interests of his family, and to the religious public, to collect the whole of his writings in a uniform publication.
Among Mr. HALL'S papers are unexpectedly found a considerable number of Sermons, in his own handwriting; which, though many of
them incomplete, are judged to be of great value, and will be faithfully printed according to the manuscripts. Much too has already been accomplished towards the preparation of several valuable Sermons from the notes of gentlemen who heard them preached. Many friends of the deceased, on understanding that the publication of his works was intended to render a permanent benefit to his family, have contributed most unreservedly and generously to this department of the undertaking. Of some valuable Sermons, four or five copies, taken independently, by different individuals, have been received; by the collation of which, with adequate care and pains, all that is especially instructive, and much that is beautiful and impressive in the composition, have been caught and preserved.
The Editor has also received from various friends and correspondents of Mr. HALL a valuable collection of Letters. These, when duly arranged, will be found to present the most natural and instructive biographical illustration of the writer's sentiments and character, from his seventeenth year to within a few weeks of his death.
The following is the proposed arrangement of the Contents:VOL. I. Sermons, Charges, Circular Letters, and Tracts on Terms of Communion and John's Baptism.
VOL. II. Tracts, Political and Miscellaneous; Reviews, and Miscellaneous Pieces.
VOL. III. Sermons from the Author's own Manuscripts, with a Selection from his Letters; Sermons from notes taken while they were preached with Memoirs of the Life of the Author, and Review of his Writings.
VOL. I. is now ready.
Vol. I. contains a Sermon on the Doctrine of Substitution, from Isaiah liii. 8, preached at Luton in the year 1822, and never before published.
Vol. II. will contain an unpublished fragment of a Defence of Village Preaching, written partly in the year 1802.
Vol. III. will contain Letters and Sermons not before published.
In the preparation and arrangement of these Volumes, Dr. GREGORY,
in every case where such aid seems expedient, avails himself of the judgment of the Rev. JOHN FOSTER, Author of "Essays on Decision of Character," on "Popular Ignorance," &c.
The Memoir has been undertaken by Sir JAMES MACKINTOSH, one of Mr. HALL's earliest friends, and whose intellectual endowments eminently qualify him for the task.
An accurate and beautifully executed Portrait of the Author will accompany one of the Volumes,
Persons wishing to subscribe to the Work are requested to send their names without delay to their respective Booksellers.
BY THE RIGHT HON. SIR J. MACKINTOSH, LL.D. M.P.
AND A SKETCH OF HIS CHARACTER AS A THEOLOGIAN
BY THE REV. JOHN FOSTER.
PUBLISHED UNDER THE SUPERINTENDENCE OF
OLINTHUS GREGORY, LL.D. F. R. A. S.