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AN ORIGINAL HISTORY
AT PRESENT EXISTING IN
THE UNITED STATES.
CONTAINING AUTHENTIC ACCOUNTS OF THEIR
RISE, PROGRESS, STATISTICS AND DOCTRINES.
WRITTEN EXPRESSLY FOR THE WORK BY EMINENT
THEOLOGICAL PROFESSORS, MINISTERS, AND LAY-MEMBERS,
Entered, according to an Act of Congress, in the year 1844, by
JAMES Y. HUMPHREYS, AND CLYDE AND WILLIAMS,
in the Clerk's Office of the District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.
C. Sherman, Printer,
19 St. James Street,
The projector and compiler of this work, while examining many years since “ Histories of Religions,” and hearing numerous complaints by ministers and lay members of different denominations, that such books had unjustly represented their religion, was forcibly impressed, that a work like the one now offered to the public, was desirable and much needed : he then conceived the plan of obtaining the history of each denomination from the pen of some one of its most distinguished ministers or professors; thus affording each sect the opportunity of giving its own history-considering that a work thus prepared must be entirely free from the faults of misrepresentation, so generally brought against books of this character.
To supply this desideratum, and to furnish a comprehensive history of the religious denominations in the United States, and also to present to the public a book, as free as possible from all grounds of complaint, the projector, two years ago, made application to many of the most prominent divines and lay members of different denominations, for their views of such a work, receiving in all cases their approbation, and many at once consenting to aid, by writing or procuring the necessary articles.
It would be superfluous to say any thing in regard to the contributors to this work—they are too favourably known to their own sects to need it, and their names accompanying each article, is sufficient guarantee that justice has been done to all, so far as the projector was enabled to attain it.
It is presumed, that no writer in this work can have had any motive to wilfully misrepresent the doctrine of the denomination of which he is a member ; it is admitted, that he may have been influ
enced by a bias, natural to many, to present the “Beauties of his own Faith” in glowing colours; and where this may appear to have been attempted, it is left to the reader to make all due allowance.
In the history, and especially in the creed of the different denominations, the unprejudiced reader has a subject for candid investigation, and will be able to draw his own conclusions from authentic data. Though truth and error may be commingled, still the lover of free inquiry will have nothing to fear. It must be admitted, that many opinions are presented which cannot be maintained by “ Thus saith the Lord;” but as the projector has done his part in giving each sect an opportunity of telling its own story, and in its own way he thus leaves it to a liberal and discerning public.
Lancaster, Pa., April, 1844.