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PREFACE.

The manuscripts which gave rise to this publication were found among the private papers of their author, Martha Laurens Ramsay, after her death, and were unseen by every human eye but her own, previous to that event. The first mention she ever made of them was in the full view of death, and only three days before its fatal stroke. She then announced the drawer in which they were deposited, and at the same time requested, that after they were read, they might be kept as a common book of the family, or divided among its members. They appeared, on perusal, to be well calculated to excite serious impressions favourable to the interests of religion; for they were a practical, experimental comment on its nature and salutary effects even in this life. Its ten

dency to promote human happiness, and its sovereign efficacy to tranquilize the mind and administer consolation under afflictions, disappointments, and trials. They exhibited an example which teaches more compendiously and forcibly than precept, the value of piety, and the comfort of submission to the will of God. With this view of the subject, it became an interesting inquiry, how far it would be proper to withhold them from that more enlarged sphere of usefulness which would result from their publication ? In determining this question, recourse was had to the opinions of the Rev. Drs. Hollinshead and Keith, under whose ministry the writer of the private papers, now published, had sat upwards of twenty years, and to whom she was intimately known. They strongly recommended the publication, as well calculated to do good. 'I heir opinions, and the reasons of them were given in the subjoined letters.

* A letter from the Rev. Dr. Hollinshead to Dr. David Ramsay.

Charleston, S. C. July 1, 1181. DEAR SIR, Îne perusal of our much esteemed Mrs. Ramsay's papers has

In publishing to the world the private religious exercises of an individual, it seemed a thing of course that some account of that in

awakened in me many pleasing, though painful reflections. The loss of such a friend and such a member of our church is unspeakable. Her example, while she abode with us, was a living lecture on the importance of the human character in every part it bas to act upon the stage of life, and eminently recommended the maxims and habits of our holy religion, as worthy of all acceptation. The devout reflections of her retired hours exhibit a mind impressed with the great realities of its eternal interests, truly solicitous to improve in godliness and virtue, and highly favoured at the same time with an intimate intercourse with beaven. Permit me to say, that I think the publication of these devout exercises of her heart, with a sketch of her life, might contribute much to the establishment and comfort of many pious exercised christians, who walk in fear and darkness, for want of knowing how others have been affected in scenes of trial like their own. It would be read with interest and improvement by christians in every situation, whether of prosperity or affiction. It would be peculiarly gratifying to a numerous circle, to whom every memorial of their beloved departed friend will be precious. ln presenting it to the community, which I think no person can so well do as yourself, you will perform an interesting and acceptable duty to society, and embalm, at the same time, the virtues and the memory of a most amiable chiistian. Your undertaking this will gratify many others as well as,

Dear Sir,
Your truly sympathizing, and affectionate friend,

W.HOLLINSHEAD,

dividual should be given at the same time; for without some such knowledge, many of the roflections of the writer would be compara

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A letter from the Rev. Dr. Keith, to Dr. David Ramsay.

Charleston, S. C. June 28, 1811. DEAR SIR, The manuscripts which you were so good as to leave with me, I now return with my cordial thanks for the favour of having them submitted to my perusal.

I have read them with that close attention, with that lively interest, with that melancholy pleasure, which have been naturally excited by the circumstance of their relating to a person, who stood high in my esteem and regards as a christian and a friend wbile living, and whose precious memory my heart is disposed ever to cherish with the tenderest mingled emotions of affection and regret.

From the earliest period of my acquaintance with Mrs. Ramkay, I have considered her as a lady of a very superior mind, of dispositions eminently benevolent, friendly, and generous; and 'of those various and valuable accomplishments which could be derived only from the best education, and from an assiduous attention to the most proper and effectual means of improvement, and from a long and intimate intercourse with many of the first characters in her native country and in Europe. She was, however, still much more honourable and happily distinguished by the grace of God, by which, in her early years, her heart was renewed and sanctified, and under the influence of which, through the succeeding course of her life, she exhibited in the view of all attentive and judicious observers, a bright and at. tractive example of the temper and conduct of a real christian. But it required that delineation of the sentiments, feelings, and exercises of her heart, which her own pen has drawn, for her awn use in her most secret transactions with her Saviour and her

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