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To Mr. Cooke's numerous friends, however, some explanation may be due, of the long delay which has taken place. When I undertook, at the solicitation of his Executors, to prepare a Memoir of Mr. Cooke, and to examine his papers, I was not at all aware of the amazing mass of writings, which it would be necessary to peruse, both for the purposes of information and selection. I entered upon the task with pleasure and hope. Though not unused to toil for the press, I was in this instance greatly mistaken, as to the facility with which I should execute the work. In labour and responsibility it has far exceeded my expectations. Had not Mr. Cooke's manuscripts possessed peculiar interest --had they not been distinguished, as religious compositions, by great spirituality and discrimination; and, as writings, by unusual point and pith,--I should certainly have wearied of the task I had undertaken. But I can sincerely affirm, that though the perusal alone occupied many months of diligent reading and examination, my pleasure increased as I proceeded : and though I had known Mr. Cooke intimately for about five and twenty years, yet his manuscripts greatly increased my knowledge of his character, and my admiration of his unusual excellences. My labour has been considerable; sometimes, amidst other numerous engagements, even oppressive, but it has been fully and pleasantly counterbalanced by the improvement
and gratification I have derived from my work. May many readers find the perusal of these “Remains,” as interesting and profitable as it has been to myself! And, in that case, I shall never regret the time and attention bestowed upon the selection and arrangement.
Amidst so considerable an accumulation, and so great a variety of brief papers, I have often felt the difficulty of choice; and not unfrequently, the responsibility of determining what was, and what was not, original. Mr. Cooke did not uniformly distinguish the extracts he was in the habit of taking from books. Sometimes he inserted such among his own miscellaneous remarks; and although frequently he put a reference to the work from which he had made the extract, and usually appended his initials to his own papers; yet, sometimes, he neglected both these discriminative marks. This has occasioned me much anxiety and trouble in making the selection, and may possibly have led me into error. Should the reader detect any such mistakes, he must attribute them to my deficiency of information, and not to any intention on Mr. Cooke's part, or on my own, to appropriate, as original, any portion of other men's writings. · Concerning all the articles here presented to the reader, it is necessary to state, that they have undergone none but very trivial corrections. I was concerned to make them a fair memento of the man. Many of the papers might, I am sensible, have been greatly improved; and had they enjoyed the correction of the writer's own hand, they would doubtless have appeared to greater advantage. But I deemed it desirable, rather to insert them in their unfinished and fragmentary state, than risk, by alteration, the characteristic impress which they bear in almost every line. Most of these papers appeared calculated for usefulness, and some eminently. so. This principle has, therefore, uniformly guided my selection.
In reference to the Letters, especially those entitled to Ministers unknown, and indeed in reference to all that appear without names, it may be necessary to say, for the satisfaction of such of the parties as may be alive, that the letters can now be identified by no persons but themselves. As some of these letters are admonitory, and contain very faithful reproofs to some brother Ministers, and as they were written in the privacy and sacredness of intimate friendship, it may be deemed improper that they should have been given to the public. It will, however, remove all sense of pain or injury, to assure such persons, that though Mr. Cooke preserved copies of these letters, he has left behind him no clue whatever to the parties to whom they were sent. Should any of these parties be still
alive, they may feel perfectly confident, that the designation of every one of these letters perished with the writer. Had they contained names, had there been any possibility of identifying them, or any probability of any personal pain or injury being the result, they should have been suppressed. But they appeared so likely to be useful to young ministers, so secure from misuse, and so illustrative of their author's fidelity, that, after mature deliberation and advice, I determined on their publication. Should any names ever become associated with them, it can be done exclusively by the parties themselves.
And now, with an apology for the unavoidable typographical errors, which my distance from the Press has occasioned, I commit the work to the candour of the reader, and the blessing of God. I have sought in the execution of it for myself and my subject, USEFULNESS-only usefulness. This, I feel a well-grounded confidence, will, through the Divine benediction, be its result, and in such an issue, the reader and the writer will rejoice together.
Worcester, May 5, 1828.
Page 26 line 17 from bottom, for feeding, read fading.
Cook, read Cooke.
was, read wast.
Huntingdon, read Huntington.
after, read often.
5, 7, 8, dele e, in the word yee.