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CHURCH AND CONGREGATION
LATE UNDER THE PASTORAL CARE
REV. THOMAS SPENCER,
COMPILED AND PUBLISHED AT THEIR REQUEST,
AS A TESTIMONY TO THE WORLD
THE ADMIRATION AND ESTEEM HIS GENIUS AND HIS PIETY
UNIVERSALLY INSPIRED ;
A GRATEFUL DEMORIAL OF HIS ACCEPTABLE LABOURS
AS A MINISTER, AS A MAN, AND AS A CHRISTIAN,
BY THEIR AFFECTIONATE PASTOR AND SINCERE FRIEND,
THE volume now presented to the public, owes its origini to one of those mysterious events in Providence, which seem commissioned, at distant intervals, to alarm and admonish the church of God. A loss so sudden, so awful, so universally deplored, as that of Mr. Spencer, demanded improvement. Many impressive discourses were delivered on the sad occasion, several of which have issued from the press. But his life was not less instructive than his death ; and the more it was contemplated by his friends, the more deeply they felt the importance of rescuing from oblivion those traits of his character, and circumstances of his history, by which their own private circles had been interested. Upon my acceptance of the solemn office from which he was so unexpectedly removed, his bereaved people, anxious to see some authorized memoirs of their beloved pastor embodied and preserved, committed the mournful duty to my hands. My respect for the honoured dead, and attachment to the living, induced me to accept the charge : how I have executed the important trust reposed in me, I must now leave it with a candid public to decide.
Various causes have contributed to create the delay which has attended the publication of the book. It was with considerable difficulty that I collected the materials necessary for my purpose. I had imagined, from the general impression which prevailed, at least amongst Mr. Spencer's friends, of the propriety of such a publication, that information would have been spontaneously offered from
every quarter whence it might be furnished. But in this I was disappointed; and it was some considerable time from the annunciation of my design, before I was sufficiently supplied to commence, with any degree of prudence, the composition of the volume.
In addition to this, the laborious duties of a new and most extensive charge, conspired often to suspend the prosecution of the work, for the appearance of which I knew many to be anxious, but none more so than myself.
Had I at first anticipated the extent of these Memoirs, I should most probably have shrunk from the undertaking. But the volume has grown almost imperceptibly beneath my hand. What I have recorded of the dear departed is strictly true, so far as the veracity of the most excellent men can warrant the assertion; and whatever opportunity the narrative has afforded of administering instruction I have gladly seized, and conscientiously improved, leaving the issue to a higher agent.,
I have at length completed the work; and now, with the deepest humility and diffidence, I resign it to the blessing of God—the consideration of friendship-and the candour of the public. If to those who knew and loved him, it shall sometimes recall, with grateful emotions, the image and the excellencies of their departed friend ; if it shall induce any to emulate the bright example of his manly virtues, and his christian graces; or if but one, anticipating or commencing the laborious duties of the christian ministry, shall derive from the contemplation of Spencer's character, instruction, caution, or encourage. ment-I am amply recompensed-I have not laboured in yain!
TOSTETH PARK, LIVERPOOL,
February 15th, 1813.