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workings of my mind, but I have destroyed them all.” His private history, like that of most Clergymen, was not marked by any very extraordinary incidents; and the coeval eye-witnesses of his public career had most of them entered the world of spirits before him: and though Advertisements have been issued, for information and correspondence, they have yielded but little.
Meanwhile, the return of the younger son from India, in 1845-6, allowed him opportunity and leisure for examining the Archives of the Church Missionary Society. The voluminous correspondence contained in those Archives furnished a clue to Mr. Pratt's course in connection with the Missionary cause; and at the same time afforded much insight into his views and feelings on many other interesting topics. From these beginnings the work has gradually grown ; and several judicious friends, including the Bishop of Calcutta, having seen the MS., strongly urged its publication.
The foregoing statement will prepare the reader to expect, that MissioNARY DETAILS will form a prominent feature of the ensuing pages. This will be found to be the case; and whatever interest the Volume may possess in other respects, the account here given of the rise of the Church Missionary Society, and of its first twenty-five years, will (it is hoped) be specially acceptable at a moment, when the Jubilee Trumpet of that Society is calling its members to reflect on the past and take courage for the future. May this Publication be an honoured instrument of deepening and perpetuating that increased feeling of interest in
Missions, which this Jubilee Commemoration has so extensively aroused!
One difficulty, however, attending this portion of their labours the Editors have felt strongly; viz. lest they should seem to be claiming for one individual a distinction, which others were entitled to share with him. Many time-honoured names will occur to every reader, as having been associated with Mr. Pratt both in counsel and labour, on Committees and in journeys, in the pulpit and on the platform. Mr. Pratt, however, from his official position, took such a principal share in those early operations of the Society, as will justify (it is believed) the representations here made: contemporary testimonies are (as far as possible) quoted : some of his coadjutors are named, and others are known through their respective biographers. The Editors, for various reasons, felt bound to submit this part of their work to the officers of the Society; and their best thanks are due to the Rev. William Jowett for his kind assistance, especially in the Chapter on the Mediterranean Mission; and to the Rev. Henry Venn, Honorary Clerical Secretary, for his valuable suggestions.
Beside the Missionary subject, there is another point, in regard to which it is hoped that the present Volume may prove useful. It was to be expected, that the success vouchsafed to the efforts of Mr. Pratt and his coadjutors to extend the kingdom of Christ, and to promote scriptural and vital religion in the world, would awaken the jealousy and call forth the counter efforts of the Prince of Darkness. Mr. Pratt
lived to see that jealousy in active operation, both at home and abroad: but nothing grieved and alarmed him so much as the rise of a Party in the bosom of our own Protestant Church, characterized by an undue exaltation of Tradition, Sacraments, and Externals, together with a depreciation and corruption of the vital principles of the Gospel. These things cast a gloom over his spirit for several of the later years of his life, and called forth his most earnest protests and solemn warnings ;—all of which carry the
the greater weight, from their being the fruit of well-digested knowledge and ripe experience. Some of them are recorded in the following pages; and it is hoped that they will not be altogether lost on the present generation.
Many other matters are introduced into the Volume, which it is believed) will interest his parishioners and personal friends, and call up numerous valuable associations with by-gone days; though, in the selection of them, the profit of the general reader has not been lost sight of.
With these observations, the Editors commend the Publication to the candour and consideration of those who may honour it with their perusal; humbly imploring the Great Head of the Church to render the testimony and example of His servant, here but inadequately exhibited, subservient to those high and holy interests which lay nearest his heart; and to the advancement of which his best powers, during a long life, were unceasingly devoted.