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FEW Ew subjects are better calculated to afford interest to the mind of a Christian reader, whose taste has not become vitiated by a love for reading religious fictions, than Biographical Memoirs of such characters as have been distinguished for their eminent devotedness to God, and usefulness to their fellow-men.
Amongst the number of such as deserve honourable record on this account, in later times few will be deemed more worthy than the "EXCELLENT BRAINERD," a man, who, in a very high degree, proved the truth and reality of religion in his own experience, and a man whose labours in the work of the Ministry were markedly owned by his Gon. What a delightful fact is that related of him by the celebrated President DWIGHT of America, that "out of a place containing one hundred Indians, in the course of a twelvemonth, seventy-five of them were, to all human appearance, converted by his preaching, to the faith and obedience of the gospel."
This is the man whose life and experience may be read with delight and profit by the Christian to the end of the
* See Dr Dwight's Travels in America, vol. iii. p. 73.
world; and this is the Missionary whose success may encourage, and whose example may be held up to the labourer in the same vineyard, till the inhabitants of the earth shall have learned the knowledge of Christ Jesus, from the rising to the setting of the sun.
It is piously hoped that the value and importance, as well as the peculiar neatness of the present volume, which is printed verbatim from the original octavo edition, will so recommend itself, that it will obtain that extensive circulation of which it is so eminently worthy.
Edinburgh, 1st April, 1824.
THERE HERE are two ways of representing and recommending true religion and virtue to the world, which God hath made use of; the one is by doctrine and precept, the other is by instance and example; both are abundantly used in the Holy Scriptures. Not only are the grounds, nature, design, and importance of religion clearly exhibited in the doctrines of Scripture, and its exercise and practice plainly delineated, and abundantly enjoined and enforced in its commands and counsels; but there we have many excellent examples of religion, in its power and practice set before us, in the histories both of the Old and New Testament.
Jesus Christ, the great prophet of God, who came to be "the light of the world," to teach and enforce true religion, in a greater degree than ever had been before, made use of both these methods. In his doctrine he declared the mind and will of God, and the nature and properties of that virtue which becomes creatures in our circumstances, more clearly and fully than ever it had been before, and more powerfully enforced it by what he declared of the obligations and inducements to holiness; and he also in his own practice gave a most perfect exA
ample of the virtue he taught. He exhibited to the world such an illustrious pattern of humility, divine love, discreet zeal, self-denial, obedience, patience, resignation, fortitude, meekness, forgiveness, compassion, benevolence, and universal holiness, as neither men nor angels ever saw before. God also in his providence has been wont to make use of both these methods to hold forth light to mankind, and inducement to their duty, in all ages. He has from time to time raised up eminent teachers, to exhibit and bear testimony to the truth in their doctrine, and oppose the errors, darkness, and wickedness of the world; and also has, from age to age, raised up some eminent persons that have set bright examples of that religion that is taught and prescribed in the word of God; whose examples have in divine providence been set forth to public view. These have a great tendency to engage the atten.. tion of men to the doctrines and rules that are taught, and greatly to confirm and enforce them; and especially when these bright examples have been exhibited in the same persons that have been eminent teachers, so that the world has had opportunity to see such a confirmation of the truth, efficacy, and amiableness of the religion taught, in the practice of the same persons that have most clearly and forceably taught it; and above all, when these bright examples have been set by eminent teachers in a variety of unusual circumstances of remarkable trial; and God has withal remarkably distinguished them with wonderful success in their instructions and labours, consisting in glorious events that have been, in many respects, new and strange.
Such an instance we have in the excellent person, whose life is published in the following pages. His example is attended with a great variety of circumstances,