Excerpt from Lancashire Nonconformity, or Sketches, Historical and Descriptive, of the Congregational and Old Presbyterian Churches in the County
The present volume covers only a part of the Manchester District of the Lancashire Congregational Union. Yet it has considerably outrun the number of pages at first intended. Some churches may be disappointed because their histories are not more full, but if they will note the number whose histories had to be inserted they will see that greater fulness was not possible. It has been stated repeatedly, in circulars and earlier prefaces, that each volume is complete in itself; but the pressure of space in the present one has compelled me, wherever possible, to ask the reader to consult other volumes for more details.
Congregationalism appears in its strength in the part of the county with which this volume deals. The quick, vigorous, and courageous spirit which centres in the great Cottonopolis of Lancashire, has shown itself in continuous aggressive Congregational efi'ort. Whereas at the commence ment of the century, when the Lancashire Congregational Union was born, there were barely half a dozen inconsiderable interests, now there is a large Congregational network in Manchester and neighbourhood, and many of the churches have both wealth, position, and numbers on their side. The story is not without incidents of a humiliating character, but on the whole it is full of encouragement, and it shows what great possibilities there are in Congregationalism, when it commands the loyalty of its own friends.
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