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ference of 1804-Abdel Coleman-Joshua Barnes-Joshua
The History of Methodism in Kentucky cannot be otherwise than interesting, if faithfully delineated. Organized in the District when there was scarcely a cabin outside of the forts in all its broad domain-its standard-bearers exposed to privations, sufferings, and dangers, the recital of which seem more like romantic stories, selected from the legends of fable, than the sober realities of historyplanted and nourished amid opposition and difficulties that brave hearts only could surmount, the extraordinary success that has attended it, growing up in eighty years from a single society of only a few members to a membership of nearly fifty thousand, with more than five hundred ministers, (traveling and local,) church-edifices in every community, schools and seminaries of learning in different portions of the State - its truths proclaimed in every neighborhood, and its vital energies and hallowed influence imparting life to other Christian communions, it is invested with an importance at once attractive and commanding. While the rich have sought its temples, and worshiped at its altars, its peculiar glory has been that it searched for the poor, and carried the tidings of a Redeemer's love to the homes of sorrow and of want.
Not seeking controversies with other denominations of Christians, but desirous to live on terms of amity and in Christian fellowship with all who love the Lord Jesus, its ministers have everywhere preached the doctrines of the Bible, as contained in our Articles of Religion; while they have not at any time shrunk from the vindication of its teachings and truths, by whomsoever assailed.
Anxious for the success of Christianity, and the extension of the Redeemer's kingdom, it cheerfully bids God speed to all who love the Saviour, and rejoices in the prosperity of Zion, whether in its own or in other branches of the Church of Christ.
The biographical sketches to be found in these pages are simply sketches. They claim to be nothing more. The limits of our work, when we take into consideration the number of the ministers who have occupied this field, and have been called "from labor to reward,” forbid our indulging in detailed historical narrative. In many instances we desired to give more lengthened accounts of the lives and labors of the noble men who laid the foundations of Methodism in these western wilds, but we dared not gratify our own wishes. We have allowed all the space which might be considered expedient.
We regret that in many instances our information has been so meager. To ascertain all that we could, we have spared neither pains, expense, nor labor, in our efforts
to become possessed of all the information to be obtained. We have searched the records of the Church, and availed ourselves of a close and faithful examination of the General Minutes, the Methodist Magazine, Quarterly Reviews, and the weekly journals of the Church, together with several volumes of Church-history, biographical sketches, autobiographies, unpublished manuscripts of pioneer preachers, and extensive private correspondence, that we might elicit every thing yet remaining that connects the present with the past.
That many facts, incidents, and matters of importance, in reference to Methodism in Kentucky, are lost to us for ever, we cannot doubt. Many of the most reliable sources of information are closed. Only one of the noble men identified with the fortunes of the Church in Kentucky, previous to the period at which this volume closes, yet remains. Bending beneath the weight of eighty-three years, he is still able to preach the gospel. We are, however, happy to believe that much may hereafter be discovered, that may invest a future edition with greater interest.
It has been for many years our anxious desire that some one would rescue from oblivion the names and the memories of the pioneer preachers of Kentucky, and place their lives and labors in a permanent and enduring form. The fact that no one else has accepted the task, is our apology for having undertaken it. For several years we have been collecting materials for this work, and amid the arduous duties of the Book Agency, we have prepared