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TO THE PRESENT EDITION.
The Author directed by his will, that certain trustees should print his life, at his expense, so far as they might judge expedient for gratuitous distribution. The trustees, four in number, all united in the propriety of printing the work, though only two of them, James Wilson and John Wilson, both of Kendal, lived to see his design carried into effect; by publishing his life in a folio volume of more than seven hundred pages. Copies of it were supplied to the Author's particular friends and acquaintances, and extensively to the Monthly or Quarterly Meetings of Friends in Great Britain. The printer had likewise the liberty given him of working off an additional number for sale at his own discretion and risk.
This work having been long out of print, the former Abridgment of the Memoir of Thomas Story, was made by John Kendall, and published in 1786. In looking over the original folio volume, the present editor has met with incidents and circumstances omitted in 1786, which it is apprehended will be interesting to the reader; and some of them may be better presented in this Introduction, than by incorporating them with the former Abridgment
This plan affords an opportunity of reducing to one view, by a connected series, the Author's sentiments on some important subjects, which are found scattered in different parts of the Journal; and, though it may be considered of minor importance, it also furnishes an opportunity for remarks upon them, or on other topics.
The Author's design in writing the account of his life stated in the commencement of the folio volume, is retained in this Abridgment. So strictly did he confine himself to circumstances connected with his conduct in reference to his religious character, that, as his trustees state in their preface, dated in the year 1747, "Though the Author was known to be a man of excellent understanding and extensive learning, and had particularly applied part of his time to the study of natural history, and the physical explanation of things, yet we do not find any disquisitions, or observations of this kind, brought into his Journal, though opportunities seem not to have been wanting, if he had thought it proper to have made any use of them; and perhaps some readers may be disappointed in not finding something of this kind in the following work. But the Author certainly judged of these matters in another manner." "He was well convinced of the mutable and uncertain state of terrene affairs; the limited and narrow bounds of the present life; the shortness, imperfection, and vanity of all temporary enjoyments; and the weak and perplexed condition of human reason and the natural abilities of man, though aided and
improved by all the arts and sciences the world can afford. He had [given a decided preference] to the eternal and unchangeable mansions prepared in the heavens for the favoured of God; to the wide and unbounded prospects of immortality; the transcendent fulness and duration of celestial joys, and the ineffable light and sure knowledge, revealed and manifested in the presence and enjoyment of the Almighty.
"In regard to these views, and under a deep consideration of this sort, the world, though God's creation, and in its place perfectly harmonious, and wisely designed and ordered, he held of small account; and with the apostle, esteemed it as dross and dung in comparison with Divine riches and attainments. It seems therefore to have been his studied care to avoid touching upon every other subject, but what in some measure leaned towards religious matters, or related to the work of God in the soul of man and as he had freely dedicated his life to this great purpose, we not only find that he has excluded the amusement of natural science, and the curiosities of human learning from his work, but also most of the matters of business and incidents which fell to his share, in the course o his secular affairs and transactions in the world, whether of a private or public nature. Amongst the former, it is not a little remarkable that he has not once mentioned his ever having been in the conjugal state, though it is certain that he was married in 1706 to Anne, daughter of Edward Shippen, with whom
he lived in great harmony and affection several years, viz. till 1711 or 1712, when he was deprived of that comfort, by her death. His not taking any notice of a thing of so great private concernment as this, makes it no wonder that he has omitted many others of a more remote and indifferent nature; by which means there appear several vacancies or chasms of time, concerning which he has left us no account; particularly one of four years, between 1705 and 1709, [ in which period his marriage occurred, and] duriug which time he was mostly engaged in the provincial affairs of Pennsylvania, by virtue of a deputation from his intimate friend, the proprietor, William Penn.
"Between 1720 and 1727, we have another vacancy in the Journal, during which time the Author was employed in regulating several troublesome affairs, in which he could not avoid being involved, as well as in some vexatious law suits; all which he bore and passed through with great firmness and temper, and at last cleared himself of, and became again free from the world and the things thereof, and wholly devoted to public service in the great and interesting cause of Truth and Salvation; of which he was an able and faithful minister in the hand of God, through JESUS CHRIST OUR LORD."
The precise period at which the Author commenced the writing of his Journal is not ascertained; it must however have been subsequently to the year 1694, as one object in his view he says was, "to write a faithful Journal of my travels and labours in the service of the Gospel ;" and his first journey, after he entered