Page images


The following pages have been prepared under the direction, and at the expense of the subscriber, by a common friend to her family and the church of God. The fullest reliance may be placed on the general accuracy of the work, in regard to all matters of fact. Wherever opinions are expressed, they will be received, as in all other cases, for what they are worth. In giving this volume to the world, she has acted from the full persuasion, that it will aid the advancement of that cause, which absorbed the affections and commanded the best exertions of the beloved friend, whose history it records. It is her earnest wish that it may suffer no mutilation or abridgment, without her consent. She has done what she could to place it within the reach of all, by fixing the price lower, if she has been rightly informed, than that of any other original work of the same size and character. She is willing to listen to any suggestions for its improvement, if it should be so favorably received, as to create a demand for a second impression; but should feel wronged by any alteration, under any pretence, which was not authorized by her


self. It would be an infringement of the right of her orphan children. This is, indeed, a minor consideration; but one, which, perhaps, is in her situation entitled to some regard.

The allusions to herself, in the course of the volume, render it a delicate office for her to vouch for the strict fidelity of all its statements. In regard to these allusions, the biographer asserted an independent right, and for them he is responsible.

February 1830.


In preparing this Memoir, I have been constantly op pressed by a sense of the extreme delicacy of my task, as well as of its responsibility. This proceeded, in part, from the nature of the materials of which the work is composed. It has been found a very serious and difficult question, how far it is justifiable to submit to the inspection of good and bad, indiscriminately, the records of one's private exercises, which were never intended to be seen out of the closet; nor even there, except by the writer only. As religion is so much the business of the closet, it is evident that no man's Christian character can be fully developed without exhibiting the transactions of that sacred retreat. Disclosures of this class have been highly prized by the Christian community, generally; and God himself seems to have set the seal of his approbation upon them, by rendering them the frequent occasion of

exciting and cherishing religious affections. Were it not for these and similar considerations I should have felt painful misgivings on exposing, as it were, to the public gaze, the recesses of a heart so deeply, and variously affected, as was that of the subject of this memoir. I hope, however, that there is no wanton exposure. Nor shall I be thought to have been very profuse with this portion of the materials, when it is seen, that only a small part of the memoir has been drawn from the six manuscript volumes of his Diary.

It has been my first care to give a faithful history, and not to delineate a perfect character. I am not aware that any deductions or abatements from the following account, need to be made on the ground of personal friendship or partiality. I have rather feared that my anxiety to copy scriptural models, which describe the faults of good men with the same unshrinking fidelity, that they embalm their virtues, may have led me to throw too much of shade into the picture,-to dwell at disproportionate length on those points which cannot be contemplated without sadness.

This book is what the reviewers would call a monumental memoir, the object of which is to preserve as much as possible the very lineaments and appearance of the individual; to embalm, not to dissect his remains.' It is a book of this class that our Christian community have been expecting; nor are they, at present, prepared to appreciate one on a different model. I have endeavored so to arrange and dispose of the materials, as to give


something of system to the work. If the reader should find a recurrence of the same topics, he will readily excuse it, on learning that this infelicity, or important omissions, were unavoidable. The truth is, materials, which were furnished at first with a most disheartening parsimony, continued to flow in, till the last sheet of the book went to press. Those friends, who may not meet with their contributions in these pages, will generally find an equivalent in some other form.

The appearance of the volume has been delayed beyond the public expectation. This is to be attributed not so much to dilatoriness in its actual preparation, as to the unaccountable delay of some, and the total neglect of others, to communicate facts, which were essential to any tolerable completeness of the narrative. Disappointments of this kind have been very discouraging, and in some instances have arisen from sources, whence they were least of all expected. There have been gratifying exceptions; and all, whose contributions have enriched these pages, will accept the thanks of the


« PreviousContinue »