« PreviousContinue »
LETTERS TO A FRIEND,
INTENDED TO RELIEVE THE
DIFFICULTIES OF AN ANXIOUS INQUIRER
UNDER SERIOUS IMPRESSIONS
ON THE SUBJECTS OF CONVERSION
BY THE LATE
REV. THOMAS CHARLTON HENRY, D.D.
OF CHARLESTON, SOUTH CAROLINA,
SECOND EDITION, REVISED AND CORRECTEN,
WITH MEMOIRS OF THE AUTHOR, AND OTHER
HOLDSWORTH AND BALL,
18, st. PAUL'S CHURCH YARD.
TO THE PRESENT EDITION.
CIRCUMSTANCES not necessary to be related brought upon me the request to revise for republication this volume, the production of an extraordinary and superior mind, on subjects of the highest importance. These Letters may, indeed, be said to belong, by a kind of parental claim, to the Mother Country of the North American States. They originated in some very solemn and impressive conversations of the Author, during his visit to the land of his ancestors : but injunctions, which I must hold inviolable, forbid any more explicit disclosures on this topic. It was also the unquestionable intention of the Author, to have had the work
printed and published in the metropolis of Great Britain: and, with that view, he sent a copy fairly transcribed for the press, to our common friend, the Rev. Thomas LEWIS, of Islington.
It was, no doubt, with the design of more immediate and extended usefulness, that Dr. HENRY commenced the printing of the work in his own country, and the city which had enjoyed the blessing of his animated and most successful ministrations. But the event, infinitely glorious to himself, though so dark a calamity to the church on earth, of his early and sudden dissolution, prevented him from seeing the completion of his purpose.
Dr. Henry's rapid power of thought and language, which transfused so much energy into his sermons and other personal communications, had produced a habit of expression which does not well
comport with the silent utterance of the pen or the printing-press. A train of sentiments, reasonings, or exhortations, which can reach the mind only through the medium of the eye, admits not of numerous positions of words and turns of speech which appear unexceptionable, and even may be positively advantageous, when supported by the eloquence of the voice and the eye and the figure. There is reason to believe that the following Letters were composed with a speed and fervidness, which embodied in writing the Author's oral style.
There are, also, in the manuscript and in the Charleston edition, some forms of expression, which are perhaps habitual in the conversation and discourses, or even in the written composition, of the Americans, but which do not suit the literary currency of Great Britain. Not a few sentences and clauses appear to have been constructed through oversight; in