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allow ample time for the collection and transmission of those Letters from his various correspondents, lest, by a too precipitate termination of the work, it should afterwards be discovered that some of his epistles had been thereby excluded, when it might be too late to rectify the omission. Many of the Letters were also found to have been so obliterated by time, and so mutilated by use, that, in order to ensure correctness in arranging them for the press, it became necessary to transcribe the whole afresh. This work was at length accomplished, and to the press they were sent.And now arose the second cause of delay, in the tremendous conflagration by which the extensive printing offices of the Editor were, in the space of a few hours, reduced to ashes.
It will readily be conceived that the unavoidable effect of this calamitous event was, the immediate paralysation of all regular business, and the consequent introduction of a long series of perplexing intricacies, involving great anxieties, and exhausting much time, before it could be possible to resume the operations thus suddenly interrupted.
Among the many other valuable articles that fell a sacrifice to the devouring element, the manuthis instance it may literally be said, that“ the Lord God called to contend by fire.” Amos vii. 4. Yet mercy was mingled with judgment, and the faithfulness and tender regard of our great Covenant Head was still evidenced towards his church in the midst of the burning fiery furnace. It was not his heavenly will that this last basket of fragments, which himself had consecrated by his previous blessing, should be lost; for, providentially, the original Letters had been elsewhere deposited, and thus, with a few exceptions, they were preserved. Still it became requisite again to collect those that had been returned to their ownersstill the same necessity existed for the re-transcription of the whole: and, to compensate in some measure for those which were missing, 'a few others have been obtained which would not have appeared had the publication taken place at an earlier period. They are now sent forth under a fervent hope, and a strong persuasion, that the invincible sanction of the Good Shepherd will still confirm the word of his departed servant, and render them abundantly useful to the spiritual and eternal welfare of his chosen flock.
The Editor most readily embraces this opporfriends who have supplied him with the Letters forming the materials of these four volumes; the profits of which have been, and, if any, still will be, appropriated as at first proposed. With what fidelity he has executed the part devolving on him must be left to those friends, and the readers in general, to determine. He begs to observe, that, notwithstanding all his care, duplicate letters have, in some instances, appeared in the course of the work. So far as this may have arisen with reference to a similar publication from another quarter, he cannot be considered as accountable; and, in the few cases where it has occurred in the “ Posthumous Letters,” he has only to plead, that, from the multiplicity of communications, some by original documents, others by authenticated copies, added to the necessary lapse of time in the progress of the work, it was scarcely possible to bear every individual Letter in recollection, and hence, here and there, a second copy has escaped notice. Under these considerations he hopes to stand excused. It was but seldom that the author paid attention to the circumstance of affixing dates to his Letters; those which appear were chiefly supplied by the aid of the postOf the Author it will be unnecessary to speak here: let his own works praise him in the gates; and in them it may truly be said to the last, that “ he being dead yet speaketh.” They will abide the test of truth as long as a church militant exists; and there can be no doubt but their Author will be manifest, not only in the affections of those who knew him, but also in the consciences of those who are taught of God, as a faithful and highly distinguished minister of the everlasting Gospel; for “ the memory of the just is blessed, and they shall be in everlasting remembrance.”
Appended to this volume is an alphabetical list or catalogue of Mr. Huntington's works complete, as contained in the recent editions; with some observations on the former editions, and other works recommended by him.' And, as an appropriate conclusion of the whole, a correctly engraved representation of the monumental testimony, erected in Providence Chapel to the memory of this burning and shining light, is also added, together with a concise description thereof; which it is hoped will gratify the friends and connexions of the deceased man of God. The Editor, on behalf of the Acting Trustees, begs to return try, who, by their liberal subscriptions, have lent their aid to this labour of love. It was the last external tribute of respect which an affectionate flock could pay to their departed Pastor, whose record is on high, and therefore beyond the reach of detraction-imperishable; for it will survive the wreck of time.