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PREFACE BY THE EDITOR.

WHEN it has been judged expedient to reprint an American work in this country, and thereby, as far as possible, to extend and accelerate its circulation, it seems but just to assign the chief reasons which have led to this determination. Some of these reasons may be found in the following remarks.

If a parent is called, even by circumstances discreditable to a child, to sustain the pang of a separation from him, it is natural to regard this alien from his home and family with feelings of the deepest interest. In like manner, it ought to be impossible to a mother country to regard those colonies which are the offspring of her own bosom without the tenderest sympathy. And in proportion as nations have escaped from the dominion of a narrow, commercial and self-interested spirit, this has been the case. If, in some instances, the governors of distant colonies have been allowed to glut their own rapacity at the expense of the colonial population, this has proceeded, rather from the corruptions of the government at home, than from any feeling of indifference on the part of the people to the wants and sufferings of their remote brethren. Some rapacious ruler may have been willing to enrich some greedy favourite at the expense of a colony; but the mass of the population have often, in such cases, been unwilling participators in the crimes of the state.

But if any colony may be conceived to have strong claims upon a mother country, it may fairly be affirmed that North America is that colony. Her first settlers, to say the least, were not, as in many parallel cases, a band

of profligates, expelled for the general welfare of the state. Tyranny, ecclesiastical and civil, drove some of them out: others expatriated themselves in obedience to the dictates of what may be called a too scrupulous conscience. In the long period which ensued before the separation of the two countries took place, perhaps scarcely any example can be found of more cordial and devoted union between a mother country and her dependencies. And the reproach of that separation, if indeed it is any longer a subject of reproach, ought at least to be divided between the parent and daughter. If America was too jealous of her rights, Great Britain was too exorbitant in her exactions. The first spark was evidently lighted up by the rashness of the government at home; and the kindler of that spark must not hope to be acquitted of the crime of the conflagration.

I have touched for a moment on these points, in order to assign one of the reasons which disposed me the more readily to turn my attention to the present work. Every Englishman ought to feel a strong primâ-facie inclination to commend to the public any thing American which may be safely and honestly commended. The violent

separation of Great Britain from her Western Colonies, to which a reference has been made, has unhappily left many deep scars behind it. The real or supposed crimes of the first separatists are visited by a sort of posthumous vengeance upon their posterity. To this moment a spirit of jealousy and suspicion prevails in the bosom of many on both sides of the Atlantic. But what can be either less justifiable, or more mischievous? Why should we be jealous of qualities or powers in a people who owe to their English origin, and their English laws and habits, so many of those qualities and so much of this power? And what can be more injurious, than the estrangement of nations whose union is so precious, and whose enmity is so terrible to each other and to the world? Unitedtheir common language, character, and religion, would enable them, after some years, to give laws to the world. Opposed-each may inflict a death-blow on the dearest interests of the other. Nothing therefore can be more short-sighted, to use the gentlest phrase, than those books of Travels and Criticism which ungenerously attempt to

re-open or widen the breach between them. And no duty can be more obvious, than that of endeavouring to give due weight to any thing Trans-Atlantic; to exhibit our American brethren in the most attractive point of view; and, when any book of real merit makes its way from the Western to the Eastern World, instantly to raise it to its proper place on the shelves of our country. Here, then, is one substantial, and, as I think, Christian reason for recommending this work to my fellow-countrymen.

But if any motive such as this, of a more general nature, had thus led to the drawing up of the present Preface, the careful perusal of the work has exceedingly strengthened the resolution. I can scarcely conceive any one to enter on the perusal of it without coming to an early conviction that it ought to be put into the widest possible circulation: and for this opinion I proceed to state my reasons, in as few words as I am able.

In the first place, the period of human life to which it mainly applies is one which has profited perhaps less than most others from the labours of Theological and Moral writers. Much has, in the present prolific age, been done for mere children; much, also, for those who have attained to manhood; but comparatively little for those in that intermediate state to which it is difficult to assign a name. Infinite care has been bestowed on the construction of rocking-horses for infancy, and easy chairs for age; but youth, surrounded with all its train of busy fancies, ardent sensibilities, and tumultuous passions, is left, in a great measure, to run its mad career, unwarned and unrestrained. How difficult is it, at the present moment, to fix on a single work, as a decidedly valuable and appropriate present to a boy in the upper classes of a large school; for one who is just preparing for, perhaps, the most perilous of all launches-into the wide, rocky, rough, and delusive sea of an English University!

Again the moral season in human existence to which the work is principally dedicated, is one of the highest interest, and to which too little regard has been had in the writings of Theologians. The author before us has, in the present work, written chiefly for those whom the Holy Spirit has just awakened to a true conception of their state, as unpardoned offenders against the Law of God.

"The Rise and Progress of Religion in the Soul,” by Dr. Doddridge, is one of the very few books in the language which enter upon the subject systematically; and perhaps no uninspired work in our language has been so largely blessed, to the conversion of sinners, and the establishment of unsettled minds. And yet it appears to me to be, though highly valuable, by no means a complete work. It is, on the whole, far from attractive in style and manner. It is singularly barren of imagery, and sheds the light of illustration on scarcely a single page. Its statements are rarely calculated to touch the deeper springs of feeling in the human mind. The exhibition of Religion has sometimes a character of severity; so that persons of a tender spirit often rise up, from the perusal of it, rather wounded than improved. A work was wanting; and, though Mr. Abbott's is designed to fill up a little corner of the chasm in this species of writing, a work is still wanting, which would not merely search the heart of the noviciate in Religion, but heal it; would "mitigate, by solemn touch, the troubled mind;" and tenderly draw those into the arms of their Redeemer, whom force is more likely to repel from his embrace.

But, independent of the objects to which the work is thus directed, the manner of accomplishing these objects can scarcely fail to give it much interest in the mind of every discriminating reader.

In the first place, it possesses one quality, of the want of which I have ventured to complain, when referring to another work—I mean, that of producing the most lively illustrations of every subject which it touches. The author has either an unusually strong memory, or a most prolific imagination. He scarcely ever enters upon a subject which he is not able and disposed to illustrate by a story or drama, or a chapter of incidents which intimately bear upon the case. It was remarked by Sir James Mackintosh

of one of the most attractive orators in his own line who has ever adorned the seats of a British Parliament, but whose oratory is perhaps the least of his praises (I mean Mr. Wilberforce), "that such was the fertility of his imagination, that whenever an idea presented itself to his mind, a sort of shadow or ghost of the idea seemed also to present itself, in the form of some lively and charac

teristic image, which he could produce at his pleasure." Now this is true, to a great extent, of Mr. Abbott. Few works present so large a proportion of striking and picturesque illustrations of subjects, in which it is difficult to interest minds not under the government of true Religion. They pass before us, like the images raised by some optical illusion, or by the wand of an enchanter. I may confidently refer the reader, for confirmation of this statement, to the story of the Boys on the Ice, in Chapter I.; to that of the Infant School, in Chap. II.; The Absent Son, in Chap. III.; and so on, throughout the volume.

Another important feature of the work, which partly results from the first peculiarity to which I have referred, is the singular vividness with which every thought is presented to the mind. It appears to me, that there are few books which convey more forcibly and irresistibly to the reader the exact mind of the writer. It is next to impossible not to catch his idea; and almost as difficult (if any act of forgetfulness can be called difficult to a bad memory) to let it go. He not only writes, but paints; so that the facts or arguments are presented to more than one faculty at once, and are more likely to make a deep impression.

A third charm of the book is, the strong character of simplicity and nature which is impressed upon almost every page of it. Nothing can be more true to nature than the little histories or illustrations to which I have eferred. Let any one watch a set of intelligent young persons who are listening to this volume, and they will observe in their countenances continual recognitions of the nature and truth of the representation. The author sketches, in an unusual degree, from the life. He gives us, not the fictions of a morbid fancy, but real creatures of flesh and blood; who are the more interesting, because they have so many things in common with ourselves. Nature is, surely, one of the greatest charms, not merely in character, but in composition; and the author has an unusual share of it in his style of writing.

These observations may have prepared the reader for the announcement of one other peculiarity in this author; viz. that of being, in the strictest sense, an original writer. I am aware, that all which is new to us appears to be

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