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first pastor of

the first church, cambridge, mass.

with a




doctrinal tract and book society.




The Doctrinal Tract and Book Society now offer to the public a collected edition of the works of Thomas Shepard, with a Memoir of his Life and Character. The Memoir was written by John A. Albro, D. D., of Cambridge--the Pastor of the same church gathered by Shepard. The articles which make the volumes we now issue were printed, some of them in Shepard's lifetime, and some after his death; some of them in this country, and some of them in England. Some of them have passed through several editions, and were much esteemed, and exerted great influence in their day, but all of which have long since been out of the market, and are not to be found, except in some public and ancient library, or here and there in some family, handed down from past generations.

From his character and influence in the early history of the Massachusetts colony, from the intrinsic merit of his writings, and from an increasing desire that the sacred literature of the New England fathers should be revived and placed before the present generation, it has been deemed desirable to issue Shepard's works.

His power as a preacher has seldom been equaled, and his writings have had, and are destined still to have, great influence in the formation of Christian character. The frequent quotations from him by President Edwards and the earnest commendation of him by David Brainerd (see vol. iii. page 387) and other distinguished men, are sufficient to secure the extensive circulation and reading of these volumes.

Shepard's style of writing is somewhat peculiar. He abounds in numerical divisions and subdivisions, and sometimes these divisions and subdivisions are so intermixed as to make it difficult to distinguish the one from the other. A few obsolete words are sometimes used, and in a few instances, sentences are found somewhat obscure, owing, as is presumed, to the fact that some of the articles were published after his death from brief notes used to guide his thoughts in speaking, and not designed for the press, and which he would have filled out, or made more perspicuous, had he lived to edit these articles himself. But, lest we should be supposed to alter his meaning, we do not undertake to fill up seeming omissions, or to clear up obscurities. We design to give a faithful transcript of the man, and his works, without abridgment or alteration, except the orthography, which we conform to the present standards. We would have those eminent men of olden time, who, by their stern integrity, their consistent piety, and their ardent attachment to divine truth, contributed so much to give character and stability to our institutions, speak for themselves, and in their own manner.

While we revere their memory, and are thankful for the privilege of transmitting their pious and able productions to succeeding generations, we do not feel responsible for every sentiment they have advanced, and would leave each reader to compare them with the only infallible standard, and form his own conclusions.

With these sentiments, we commit these volumes to the public, with the devout prayer that a divine blessing may attend them, and that the piety and power of Shepard may be revived again.

Boston, May, 1853. The Editor.

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