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THE WODROW SOCIETY,
INSTITUTED MAY, 1841,
FOR THE PUBLICATION OF THE WORKS OF THE FATHERS AND EARLY
WRITERS OF THE REFORMED CHURCH OF SCOTLAND.
EDITED FOR THE WODROW SOCIETY,
CHIEFLY FROM MANUSCRIPTS IN THE LIBRARY OF THE
FACULTY OF ADVOCATES.
H E BIOGRAPHIES contained in the following pages
are the best, and most detailed that could be found, of the eminent individuals whose histories are here
introduced. The Notes prefixed to each will explain their origin and character. Were it the design of the WODROW SOCIETY to publish Works of a more recent origin, or had it been competent to compile Lives of these distinguished persons, far more ample accounts might have been furnished, at least regarding some of them. But confining ourselves to the printing or republication of the old, we have selected the best and most authentic of the Lives that are extant, or known, and now present them to the Members of the Society, as part of the Issue for the year M.DCCC.XLVI.
In selecting such a Series, or in judging of it, we should not overlook one great design of such Associations as the WODROW SOCIETY. It is not, we think, exclusively to gratify the taste of the Members—nor to put them alone in possession of information which is unknown to others—or in a sense secreted from them : On the contrary, we apprehend that at least the ultimate object of such Institutions is to favour and promote the publication of Works which might not otherwise become known, in order that new fountains of information may eventually be opened to allthat the confirmation of long-cherished opinions, or the correction of long-held errors, may result from the publication. In short, we regard the Works published by the WODROW, and other Societies, as the store-houses and authorities of future Biographers and Historians, as illustrating the Literature, and embodying the principles of past ages, that men may have easier access to the means of advancing the well-being of the present and the future. The French have a class of Literature well-nigh peculiar to themselves—their Memoires pour Servir à l'Histoire ; and without possessing all the characteristics, the WODROW Society's publications appear to supply the place, of that department of Literature in France. Any future Historian seeking, for example, to describe the condition of Scotland during one of the most eventful periods of its existence as a nation, will find ample and now easily accessible materials in the Society's Edition of CALDERWOOD's History. A Biography of Welsh, adapted to modern taste, might be easily compiled from the Society's published LIFE of that remarkable man ; while the student of our mysterious nature may find in not a few of the Society's Volumes, explanations of the process by which men were trained in other times to do and to endure so much—to pass rejoicing and triumphant through scenes whose mere recital makes the modern reader fear, or even weep. How could men survive such a great fight of afflictions? How did they learn to take so joyfully the spoiling of their goods? How could they so boldly face, and so patiently endure, the imprisonments, the exile, the death which so often closed their career? The answer is embodied in such Biographies as those that