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LONDON:

PRINTED BY R. GILBERT,

ST. JOHN'S-SQUARE.

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ALTHOUGH it is to the Author a source of the purest and most unmixed pleasure, to be required to give some account of his departed friend, the subject of this Memoir; yet he would have been happy, as well for the sake of those, into whose hands this tribute of affection may fall, as that more ample justice might have been done to the character of the excellent man, whose life is about to be recorded, that some other person, whose avocations are not so pressing and laborious as those of the writer, had undertaken the task. But, having, in the moment of his unexpected death, written a hasty sketch of his character in the Gentleman's Magazine for February, 1807, none of Mr. Stevens's numerous friends would afterwards take out of the Author's hands a work, which they were pleased to think was thus appropriated to him. The labour is therefore cheerfully undertaken, and if in performing it, the writer can come up to his own ideas of the important uses to be derived to society from the close contemplation of such a character, he is sensible that he shall discharge a very essential duty to the Christian world; and he knows as.. suredly, that, in the deep consideration of the character of such a man, he will greatly improve himself. He is however aware, that he has not to

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entertain the reader with the life of a man, filling a distinguished station in the Senate, or in the councils of his Sovereign; of one gloriously fighting his country's battles; of great eminence at the bar ; or celebrated in the pulpit as an eloquent divine. Mr. Stevens was indeed none of these ; but yet he was one of the most excellent of men.. Being convinced that actions, which obtain a great share of worldly applause, are not always most deserving of praise, such a Christian, as is here truly described, is in reality a character most important to be held up to universal admiration. It is indeed impossible for any man to deny, the delight and pleasure he has derived from the perusal of the lives of men, who have gained immortal glory to themselves, who have saved their country by their valoar, adorned its councils by their wisdom, or captivated Senates by their eloquence and learning. When biography is employed, in recording the lives of such men, delightful as the study is, still its utility, by way of example, is chiefly felt by those who are to fill the same walks of life, as these illustrious persons trod before them. But it is of inestimable benefit to all mankind to know by actual facts, that a life of cheerful piety and purity, of temperance and humility, being that which all ought to imitate, is that to which all may attain. The writer therefore agrees with Dr. Johnson, “ that there has rarely passed a life, of which a judicious and faithful narrative would not be useful:" and he is also of opinion, that the private lives of some persons, such as Mr. Stevens was, belong, in a manner, to posterity for instruction and example. The fault of biography, in general, is, that it is not sufficiently minute: for instance, we find it recorded that the person whose life is written, attained to excellence; but it is seldom pointed out by what means, by what previous preparation, by what · course of study, by what exertions of time, of

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