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N OT very long before his death, my father spoke to
me of the work that he was leaving unfinished, and said that he wished his History of English Congregationalism to be published, if it could be done.
How the book was first planned, and how the plan was altered, has been told elsewhere, and there is no need to repeat the story. The book began as a manual ; but it grew in size and scope—as books are apt to grow; and it would not be compressed into a couple of hundred pages. It was to have been written for the Congregational Union ; but the author preferred to speak for himself, free from all responsibility to others.
During the later years of his life he gave to the task what strength and leisure were left him. Much of the ground to be traversed was already familiar. Church history, and the history of the Congregational Churches in particular, had been his lifelong study. The earliest of his public utterances to attract attention had dealt with the Ejection of 1662. And in the years that followed—the period of energy and strength - he had set himself to revive and to enforce the theory of the Church on which the Congregational polity is built. Still later, turning aside from other work, with the pen and on the platform, he had dealt with the history of Congregationalism,