« PreviousContinue »
TROY, N. Y., Feb. 10, .855. REV. G. C. BALDWIN, D.D.
Dear Sir: The undersigned, who constitute the boards of Deacons and of Trustees in the Church and Society over which you are Pastor, having listened with pleasure and profit to your Lectures on Scripture Female Characters, and believing, that on account of the Biblical, Historical, and Practical instruction they embody, they are adapt. ed to be extensively and permanently useful,--therefore, earnestly advise their publication in book-form.
Respectfully and affectionately your friends,
Confiding more in your judgment than in my own, I have resolved to publish the Lectures, to which you allude in such kind terms. It may be well to accompany them with the following prefatory remarks.
1. As to their title. It was the English Carlyle, I believe, who first employed the phrase "Representative
Men," which our American Emerson has made the title of one of his best books. It occurred to me, that if there were in history, men who stand forth, not merely as representatives of ideas, but of classes of their fellow-men, it might be found that in the Bible record, there were women who could be appropriately viewed, not merely as historic personages, but as representatives of classes of their sex. With this thought before me, I have been delighted beyond expression, in my studies, by finding the full realization of the suggestion referred to. Is not Eve, as we have considered her, a representative of tempted and fallen females? Is not Sarah, of loving and deferential wives? Rebecca, of managing women? Jochebed, of faithful and devoted mothers? Miriam, of ancient prophetesses, and modern women, who never marry ? Ruth, of young widows and daughters-in-law ? Endor's Witch, of female spiritualists? Abigail, of that large class of superior women married to inferior men? Sheba's Queen, of wise women? Esther, of beauteous womanhood on the throne of royalty? Elizabeth, of believing wives? And the blessed Mary, the most highly honored of women; is she not a type of maternal tenderness and devotion? In these facts I have found a justification of the title I have given my book.
2. Another object, collateral it is true, but important and desirable, as it has seemed to me, I have kept in view throughout. It was to present for the edification of youth, in families, Sabbath Schools, and Bible classes, the connections of Sacred History, from Eve, the wife of the first Adam, down to Mary, the mother of the second Adam. This I have attempted to do, by selecting one prominent female of a period, and grouping around her the chief in
cidents of that period. Thus viewed, the book has a unity, which it could not possess if it consisted merely of disconnected Lectures.
3. I have taken the liberty of placing a sentence from Mrs. Stowe's writings, on the title-page, simply for this purpose-it. contains the evidence, that in the view of so accomplished and distinguished a writer-there is a place for a book of this kind in the necessities of "a large class of the community." Whether my work, as far as it goes in the direction she indicates, will even approximate the "service" to which she refers, I must leave my readers to judge.
4. Many of those who heard them, have desired the publication of these Lectures, in the same popular and often redundant style of language in which they were delivered. This, I am aware, is far better for the pulpit, than that sententiousness, which a severer taste would prefer in a book. But I commit them to the press substantially as they were spoken, with only such verbal corrections, and filling up as was necessary, in the hope that in this form they may make up in vivacity what they may lack in thought.
5. Inasmuch as the gracious Lord was pleased to bless these Lectures, to the permanent good of many who heard them, by leading them to study with interest many neglected portions of His sacred Word; inasmuch as the divine Spirit graciously honored them, as the means He employed to awaken and convert souls; and inasmuch as their delivery was followed by the most precious and extensive revival of religion which many of us had ever witnessed-I hopefully commend my humble volume to Him, with the earnest prayer that His blessing may go with it,
and cause it to be one of those instrumentalities by which, though feeble in themselves, He is carrying forward His purposes of grace toward our world.
I am, gentlemen, with sincere affection,
Your pastor and friend,
Troy, July 10, 1855.
G. C. BALDWIN.