The Editor hopes he has rendered an acceptable service to the religious public, by bringing forth from almost entire oblivion, this small but admirable treatise. The strenuous efforts of Authors and Publishers to attract attention to new works, and the necessarily greater interest we feel in the present than in the past, combine to throw the books of former years into increasing obscurity. Though books abound in every department of knowledge or piety, yet those of a proper kind do not abound, at least, on practical religion. Sabbath Schools and Tract Societies, together with extended education, have created a taste for reading, which it has become extremely difficult to supply. We are deplorably deficient in books for private Christians and common readers, which possess interest without fiction—religion without sectarianism—plainness of style without vulgarity—and importance of matter without being above general comprehension These excellences, the Editor thinks are eminently displayed in this little volume.
Most works of this kind, since Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress, have been clumsy imitations of that immortal production, and have fallen into merited contempt. Keach is entitled to the merit of originality, not less than that of skill. His line of metaphor is wholly diverse from that of Bunyan. While that delineates the progress of a soul in sanctification, this depicts religion itself as a pilgrim, and describes the treatment it receives from the various orders of men. In point of theological accuracy, devout temper, and useful tendency, the Travels of True Godliness may bear comparison with Pilgrim’s Progress. The admirers of Bunyan cannot fail to be pleased with Keach.
Considerable liberties have necessarily been taken with the style, as the work was written an hundred and fifty years ago; but the sentiments have in no instance been varied in the least. The Memoir has been prepared with much attention, expressly for this edition of the work.
Those who adopt as one of their modes of benevolence, the distribution of awakening tracts, will find this happily suited to their purpose, and adapted to a great variety of characters. To Christians it will prove an excellent closet companion, containing judicious and satisfactory helps to self-examination, and designating the true and false marks of grace, with remarkable precision. May the divine blessing attend it.
Boston, June 1, 1829. H. M.