Ichabod S. Spencer
These Sketches are taken from real life. They are facts, not fancies. They are the experiences of some whom the Author has known in the course of his ministry. The particular religious experiences of individuals are not guides for other people. They are only illustrations of divine truth, by its application. The Sacred Scriptures are the only just guide. Still, religious history and religious biography, though often abused, have some signal advantages, and, fitly used, may be of peculiar benefit. The Author has hoped, that these Sketches might be useful, not on the ground of their marvelousness, so much as on the ground of their applicability. He has hoped, that they might be instructive, by showing the application of divine truth to human hearts by leading some anxious inquirers after salvation to see what it is that hinders them from peace with God and by leading private Christians and young Ministers of the gospel to study more carefully what they shall say to those, who inquire what they shall do to he saved. And if this, by the divine blessing, shall be of any assistance to young Ministers, on a very delicate and important part of their duty, or of any assistance to inquirers after salvation, its purpose will be accomplished. Taken from the original author's preface 1850.