WHOEVER writes about human life, and especially the life of
a chosen vessel of the Almighty Jehovah, should feel the mag¬
nitude of his responsibility. The greatness, the mystery of his
being, the wonderfulness of his personage, the overwhelming matchlessness
of his existence, in the future, all rise like a mountain before the writer.
Therefore, he who writes of men of God must do it in remembrance of the
image of the Divinity, in which their souls are made—a profound thoughtful-
ness, a reverent and tender contemplation of an immortal, responsible, self-
acting being. To write well of a man's life has been held as a great art, be¬
cause it is reproducing whatever one believes has transpired under the ob¬
servation of the writer, and is therefore taken for a true narative. To write
what a great mind imagines, to write really what goes oh in any human soul,
is to do a far greater thing than any pen has yet accomplished; yet, some in¬
cidents of the life of a truly great man can be written and presented for ex¬
amples for others who follow in their tracks. If the politician can find time
and talent to devote to the life and career of statesmen, and the theatre-goers
genius to spend on the vicious tragedian, the Christian might afford to conse¬
crate a few short lines to the acknowledgment of incidents and examples of
one of their most devout leaders.
Unfortunately for us, too little value is placed upon the examples of our
ministers and the records of our churches. Every other organization of man¬
kind makes records and writes histories of their leaders and those who are
led. Why should not the glorious old mother of Virginia African Baptist
Churches transmit to her children her most heavenly record, subjoined with
the life of her beloved pastor ?
The events recorded in this volume are such as has transpired under the
observation of the writer to a very great extent, and are put in print by him
as examples worthy to be imitated by the many youths upon whose shoulders
the mighty responsibility of our religious and literary institution must shortly
rest, as well as to offer to each family of his membership a volume combining
the life and sentiments of their pastor with the history of their church. The
pride which each member has in both his church and pastor, is a sufficient
guarantee of the approbation with which this tittle book will be received.
Yours for Heaven,
WILLIAM HENRY SHERWOOD.