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HROUGH the good hand of God upon me I have at length
. I first began to plan it out and write it on the 26th of February 1787, the day after I had preached a sermon from Zech. xiv. 9. I found my heart so warmed with the glorious subject, the kingdom of Christ, on which I had been preaching, that I found an inclination to write upon it; and I immediately took up my pen, and wrote the plan of this poem as it now ftands. I had finished three books, and written a confiderable part of the fourth, when we came to England September 21, 1787
About the beginning of the year 1788, I read the four first books to a few friends in the Chapel, Chapel-court, Borough, and I return my finçere and hearty thanks to those who attended the reading, for the support and encouragement which they gave me on that occasion. About this time I planned out my Lectures on the Prophecies, which I began to deliver the beginning of February 1788 in the same place. Since which they have been delivered a second time, and published in four volumes octavo.
When I first began this poem, I was ready to imagine it to be the labour of some years; but experience corrects our mistakes. I am now convinced that the whole of it might have been easily written in much less than a quarter of one year ; and as a proof of what I say, I can assure the Reader, that the whole of the ninth book was written in the leisure hours of six days, between Monday morning and Saturday evening, in one week last winter. I have however great reason to bless God, that in the midst of
many Jabours and infirmities, and after many delays, he has enabled me to finish it; and hath preserved my life to see it published. I return my thanks to the subscribers who have enccuraged this publication, and by whose favour it now sees the light. I trust in their friendfhip and candour to excuse any defects they may see in the execucution, as I have never copied it off from the first draught, and have made but a very few alterations since it was first written. Neither has it had the friendly allistance of any other hand; fo that I only am answerable for all its faults. The subject is indeed the grandest and most extensive that can be imagined; and the delight I have had in the labour has been great: but I must confess the execution is far beneath the design. But such as it is, with all its defects, I venture it into the world, and commit it to the blessing and protection of Providence, the candour of my friends, and the generosity of the Public, and subscribe myself, a well wisher to all the human race.
ELHANAN WINCHESTER, London, January 12, 1793;
William Averst, Chatham. Ashton, Wilbeach.
B Humphry Bache, Esq. Bache's Row. Joseph Becket, Esq. Barnsly, Yorkshire. Mr. John Bradford, Birmingham.
2 copies Thomas Barber, ditto. William Bicknell, Master of a boarding school at Ponder's End.
John Bernard, John's street, Spitalfields.
William Burton Jun.
4 copies. Timothy Banger. Broad.
Thomas Chaloner, Chatham.
Mr. John Dodds, Tooley street, Borough.
Thomas Funnell, near Maidstone, - Fry, Schoolmaster, Chatham. -Samuel Fearn, Lombard-street.
William Seward Hall, London-Bridge.
Mrs. Inch, Spital-square.
Jacob Jones, Surgeon, &c. Moor-fields.
James Johnson, Birmingham.
John Love, ditto.
4 copies, 2 copies