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CHECK TO CENSORIOUSNESS:
CHAPTERS ON OTHER SUBJECTS.
REV. JAMES KENDALL,
AUTHOR OF NUMEROUS PUBLICATIONS.
SIMPKIN, MARSHALL, & Co.
BURSLEM : JAMES DEAN.
1 8 5 9.
The difficulty of writing prefaces is now more generally acknowledged than it ever has been during the whole history of modern literature. This difficulty does not arise so much from not knowing what to say, as from the perplexity of the author's mind. He is afraid of saying too much, and it will not suit his purpose to say too little. Then he is a little puzzled as to suitableness, and whether the reader will peruse or omit his preface.
Some books come out without a word of preface ; others with too many. Some are very clever and ingenious; others anticipate too much of the subject of the book; and others again have little or no connection with its subject.
As to myself, I have been puzzled in no ordinary degree, but have at length resolved to settle the question. I will have a short preface, and as much to the point as the peculiar character of my book will admit of.
I have just to say then that this book would never have been written, but for the fact that I have been unrighteously censured, and have suffered much from the result of censure.
Being from childhood by mental constitution inclined, while in a cheerful mood, to facetiousness, I have not happened to please everybody. I have ever had multitudes of cordial and attached Christian friends, to whom this said facetiousness has been agreeable.
Since I have been a preacher, a vast number of good ministers and Christian families, in my own religious connexion, have shewn me as much respect and kindness, on account of facetiousness, as for other qualities of a graver kind. But then as some people don't like facetiousness, and think it ought to be censured and quietly punished, they have acted on their own grave principles, and very solemnly, and without any provocation on my part, put me to my difficulties. During many years I have borne this patiently. I sometimes tried to think that my grave opponents might be right and I wrong; but I thought again, and discovered their errors. Yet I was silent. After a time, however, it seemed to me that there
was to be no end of censure; and when the charge of eccentricity came up against me, and procured for me a very disagreeable notoriety throughout the kingdom, alarming the churches, and fetching out those ugly things called remonstrances, to annoy and injure me, I saw that this would not do.
I determined, therefore, to let all my adversaries know that they were not to be considered so pious as they pretended to be; and if they had no concern for my temporal comforts and ministerial character, I must needs have some concern myself. I therefore wrote this book, and now publish it; and although it is not likely to be relished by a particular class of readers, yet I know before hand that it will be countenanced by such sensible people as have themselves been censured and ill-treated for wit and humour.
I love true religion, and do what I can to promote it, but I will never succumb to Pharisaism, and hence I offer no apology for publishing this volume, and express no regret. I sincerely respect the judgment of wise and good men; I love the connexion to which I belong; I venerate the character and admire the qualifications of all its superior ministers. But as certain stiff religionists have recklessly and even