« PreviousContinue »
Entered, according to Act of Congress, in the year 1836, by Go U L D A N D N E w M A N, in the Clerk's Office of the District Court of Massachusetts.
It is well known, that the former edition of President Appleton's Theological Works embraced a part only of his course of Lectures, and a few Sermons; and that it suffered materially from want of a responsible person to superintend the publication. At the suggestion of several, whose opinions deserve great consideration, an attempt has now been made to bring before the public in a uniform edition, all his more important efforts, and to remedy defects which have been a source of regret and mortification to his friends. The published writings of Dr. Appleton have placed him in the highest rank of the theological and ethical writers of our country. It is believed that the productions of his pen, which are now for the first time presented to the public, will not diminish his reputation. The Sermons in the former edition are retained in the present; some that were occasional in their character and were published during his life, were thought worthy of being preserved among his permanent works; and of the remainder, a few were Sabbath discourses, which, being composed for the people of his charge, may be taken as specimens of his ordinary style of preaching when in the active duties of the ministry. The Addresses, which have heretofore been confined in their circulation, for the most part, to the friends of the college, were uniformly deeply interesting at the time of their delivery; they were in general composed with much care; and whether we regard the importance of their topics or the able manner in which they are discussed, they are too valuable not to be circulated as widely as his name. No preparation of his writings for the press was made by the author; and although the individual, who has assumed the responsibility of the present edition, has corrected the numerous errors of the former by a careful comparison with the manuscript copy left by the author, yet the work must claim the indulgence due to a posthumous publication. It ought to be stated, that the editor, living at a distance from the place of publication, has not been able to superintend the press. For want of such superintendence, some things of trivial importance, especially among the references, the verification of which has caused much embarrassment, have been suffered to pass, which, on a revision of the sheets, it is perceived, would better have been altered. The work, however, is now submitted to the public in a form more worthy of the author's memory, with the confident expectation that it will be regarded, not only as the result of the persevering investigations and patient thought of a clear, discriminating and powerful mind, always influenced by an ardent love of truth, but also as a valuable contribution to our literature. It was thought important, that a more extended memoir of President Appleton's life and character, than has yet appeared, should accompany this new edition of his works. It seemed due to the friends of religion and true learning, as well as to the individual himself who shared so largely in the respect and veneration of the community, and whose memory is still fresh in many hearts, that an attempt should be made to render a more full tribute, than has yet been done, to his rare excellence. In respect to his early history, little has been found in addition to what has been already before the public in the memoir prefixed to the former edition. The writer of the present has not scrupled to appropriate the statements, and even the language of that memoir, whenever it was to his purpose. He