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the whole has been in a high degree holy, be nevolent and useful.
It has indeed been supposed that the deli neation of very eminent example may be injurious to persons of weak and tender minds, and that the sight of superiority so great, will discourage from efforts at imitation. Three things will fully answer such an objection as this. First. Though persons of inferior attainments ought to be encouraged, they ought not to be flattered. We must not turn the cordials of the gospel into opiates; nor lull into satisfaction with themselves those who ought to be roused to advance and excel. Secondly.-It is well to have a good copy however imperfect the writing may be. A pattern ought to be something above us; something that will remind us of deficiency, and animate us to diligence. Thirdly.-The sources of excellency lie open to us. If the attainments of those we commemorate were self derived, and we were required to follow them in our own strength, we might indeed feel discouraged at the contemplation. But if their faith, and hope, and love and usefulness, were the production of God's own spirit—and the residue of this spirit is with him and he has said ask and it shall be given you, seek and ye shall find: none need despair.
By the grace of God they were what they were: and the grace that was sufficient for them is equally so for us. We should therefore be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus.
But some may imagine we have spoken too highly of the venerable subject of the following pages. And it must be acknowledged that the manner in which works of biography have been fréquently executed, has rendered a suspicion of this kind too natural. So often has the writer been the eulogist instead of the historian that the mind becomes sceptical, and takes it for granted that if fable be not ́mixed with fact, reality is embellished by description, and magnified by the fondness of admiration. There is also peculiar danger that a biographer will be warped into partiality and exaggeration, if he feels very powerfully the sentiments of esteem and gratitude. I hope my readers will do me the justice to believethat I sat down to this work under a persuasion of the truth of these remarks, and aware of the danger in which my feelings placed me. I have endeavored to keep myself under the eye of God-and though I know not whether there has been a wakeful hour since his death, in which I have not thought of the deceased, or that I have written a page concerning him
without tears-for tears have been my meat.* -I am confident nothing has been advanced in the representation that equals the original.
Indeed in commendation of this servant of God, this benefactor of man, I am in no hazard of contradiction from those who knew him: for perhaps seldom, if ever, was there such an harmony of sentiment concerning any individual before. "That good man" was the manner in which he was always introduced, and the preface to every thing that was said of him.
The work ought to have been better: and probably would have been if more time had been allowed by the importunity of friendship; but I have done what I could in a very few weeks of frequent interruption and indisposition. The toil of examining an immense number of letters received and written by the deceased, and the perplexity of selecting extracts, and inserting them in their proper place have not been without fatigue. But I have labored with pleasure,
"When heaven would set our spirits free,
And earth's enchantment end,
It takes the most effectual means,
And robs us of a friend."
and rejoice in the enterprise, from a persuasion that what I have written from the warmest affection, and the highest regard will at the same time be ratified by a large proportion of the public voice; and that I am doing good to others while I have an opportunity to indulge my own feelings, and to acknowledge the obligations to my dear and honored friend and benefactor, which I shall never be able to discharge. To him I owe all my respectability in life, and all my opportunities of public usefulness. Though not a child by birth, I have been one by adoption; and close this Preface by a line borrowed from Homer, which our admired Cowper, with some little variation,* inscribed on a bust of his Grecian favorite :
σε "Ως τε πατὴρ ᾧ παιδί, καὶ ἔποτε λήσομαι αὐτῷ."
Lov'd as his son, in him I early found,
A father, such as I will ne'er forget.
Lower East Hayes,
April 1, 1808.
* Preface to Cowper's Translation of Homer, 2nd Edition.