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THE Life of the Rev. Thomas Adam was drawn up by the Rev. James Stillingfleet, Rector of Hotham in Yorkshire, with the concurrence of the Rev. Joseph Milner, of Hull and the Rev. William Richardson, of York. An abridgement of the Life was prefixed to Mr. Adam's posthumous works, published by the above-named editors, in the year 1785, in three volumes, octavo. A still further abridgement has accompanied numerous editions of "Private Thoughts on Religion," by Mr. Adam.
The editor of the present publication has frequently had his attention directed to the character of the Rev. Mr. Adam from conversations with his own family circle and friends, who were Mr. Adam's parishioners. And he feels a sacred debt of gratitude to the memory of Mr. Adam, whose ministry
and conversation were made useful to his grandmother, Mrs. Ann Scarbrough, as well as to other individuals of the families from which he descended. Mr. Adam showed one mark of esteem for the editor's grandmother, which was a comfort to her, a blessing to her child, and the occasion of conferring a religious education on the editor, by becoming god-father to his mother, and ever taking a lively interest in her education and religious improvement, especially after the death of her mother.
The manuscript of Mr. Adam's life, left by the late Rev. J. Stillingfleet, and generously entrusted to the editor by his son, the Rev. Edward Stillingfleet, late fellow of Lincoln College, Oxford, will be largely used in the present work; and the editor hereby expresses his acknowledgments to that gentleman for it, and several other important papers relating to Mr. Adam. He is also much obliged by the kindness of the Rev. John Storry, M. A. vicar of Great Tey, Essex, for several letters written by Mr. Adam to Colonel Pownall; and more particularly for the MSS. in the hand-writing of Mr. Adam, containing an exposition of the gospels of St. Mark, St. Luke, and St. John, written in the years 1757, 1758, and 1759, and delivered in lectures to the parishioners. They were left to Mr. Storry by his venerable father the late Rev. Robert Storry, vicar of St. Peter's, Colchester, who received them from Mr. Adam, to whom he was curate, before he was presented to the living of St. Peter's by the late Mrs. Wilberforce.
At the distance of fifty years from the death of Mr. Adam, the materials for a full life are not to be found. The editor has made every inquiry in his power of the relatives of Mr. Adam, for the purpose of enriching this Memoir; but his letters and papers, which were once in their possession, are now irretrievably lost. Something, however, has been gained by the lapse of time. The "Private Thoughts" of Mr. Adam have received the suffrages of a very large majority of the christian church, in various parts of the world; and they will probably perpetuate the name of Mr. Adam, of Wintringham. There are, besides his "Private Thoughts," other publications of this venerable minister of Christ, which are still valuable; such as an Exposition of the Church Catechism, first published about the year 1750, and other works which will be noticed in the sequel.
The following is the Introduction to Mr. Adam's Life, prefixed to his posthumous works.
"As there is a natural curiosity in most readers to know something of the life and character of an author, whose works they patronize, and with whom they have not been personally acquainted, some of the friends of the present publication have supposed, that it would be more agreeable, if a short account of Mr. Adam's life were prefixed to the volumes now presented to the public.
"The editors are very desirous, in this, and every other respect, as far as lies in their power, to contribute to the pleasure and profit of their readers ;