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56 MY NAME IS 'PILGRIM;' MY RELIGION IS LOVE; MY HOME IS THE UNIVERSE; MY
SOUL-EFFORT IS TO EDUCATE AND ELEVATE HUMANITY."
WILLIAM WHITE AND COMPANY,
BANNER OF LIGHT OFFICE,
158 WASHINGTON STREET.
NEW YORK AGENTS:- THE AMERICAN NEWS COMPANY,
119 NASSAU STREET.
Entered, according to Act of Congress, in the year 1871,
By J. O. BARRETT,
In the Office of the Librarian of Congress, at Washington.
Printed by William White Que Co.
A FRIENDLY EPISTLE.
DEAR READER, — My object in writing this book is to encourage the world's reformers.
In the fall of 1868, busily engaged in literary work at my residence, Mr. Peebles related some of his experiences by way of pleasantry; when, deeply interested, I playfully said, “Why, James, such incidents have a beautiful moral! you should publish them for others' benefit.” Urging the claim with cogent reasons, I succeeded in parrying off his jokes about it, but put myself in a dilemma unexpectedly, for I must be the biographer! Embosomed in the faith of this brother's love, it did seem a natural choice.
Meeting him again the next summer, on the shore of Elkhart Lake, Wis., in that “Wigwam Bower of Prayer,” I took the horsocope of his life, - the shadows of fact cast in the light of the spirit. Corresponding with some of his friends whose kindnesses are gratefully acknowledged — to procure old and new letters, and seizing upon his voluminous writings, I at length had a little mountain of documents; and what a chaos! So checkered did I find his life, my greatest difficulty was to reduce this sketch to consistent bounds. Much remains untold.
A biography, you know, is the hardest portraiture to delineate. It is a slight task to measure by rule, and quite a different art to impress the soul till sentences think with words that burn. The writer must have sympathetically the experience of his hero, -- fight his battles, weep with his tears, rejoice with his joy, feel the pulses of his heart.
Oh, for Nature's art ! The poet's success is what he feels; inspired feeling through a practical mind is divinely eloquent. The painter needs more than an anatomy: he must catch the soul of his subject, and stamp it upon canvas, or his effort is a failure. Sweden's song-birds, Jenny Lind and Christine Nilsson poor leasant girls once -- enchant the nations; for theirs is the soul of music.
I never would have undertaken the honored task of writing the actual biog• raphy of a man whose life line threads over all the world, and heaven too, interlacing with the “New Gospel” in its most delicate and refined activities, had I not been guided by a genius higher than my own, by an angel familiar with all the experiences of the “Spiritual Pilgrim.” Have I caught it, -- the soul ?
*Thy song, the joy and sorrow of all races,
Life's contradictions, harmonized anew"?
J. O. B.
GLEN BEULAH, Wis.