Excerpt from The Brethren's Encyclopedia: Containing the United Counsels and Conclusions of the Brethren, at Their Annual Meetings
Beloved Brethren in the Lord: -It is with the deepest feelings of gratitude to God, who has been pleased in mercy to spare my unprofitable life, and to enable me, though under severe afflictions, to pass this work through the press thus far. It is also with feelings of deep humility and self abasement, when I consider the object I had in view originally, namely, to put into the hands of my brethren of the present generation those words of peace and union which had been concluded upon by our beloved brethren of past generations under their own trials and difficulties, for our present and future benefit and instruction; and, on the other hand, perceive my imperfections and shortcomings in a great many ways. It was but a very humble task to be merely the interpreter of sayings of old, and I must confess my aim was a little higher; that is to say, to furnish my dearly beloved brethren, in the Encyclopedia, a handbook to be consulted on any point or question that might occur to any conscientious brother in his private life, or to any church in her dealings with individual members, though it had not been presented or decided at a Yearly Council hitherto; but continued ill health prevented much scrutiny and revision, and so there was left out much which had been intended for insertion, and some few things may have slipped in which ought to have been left out, and for these things he earnestly pleads for indulgence and pardon of the dear reader.
A few words of explanation and caution seem to be necessary to those who will use this little collection of the united counsels and conclusions of our Annual Meetings, since there are different opinions about them even among brethren.
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