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THERE are not many facts in the history of mankind to which so strong and just an interest can be attached, as the settlement, two centuries ago, of the Puritans, fugitives from persecution and tyranny, on the barren shore of New England. That band of noble minds, few in number, outcasts from the world, and threatened with extinction by hardships beyond the endurance of mortal strength, was endowed, in a manner and to a degree to which a parallel example can with difficulty be found, with the blessing of God's eternal covenant, and sent forth from its hewn and trampled trunk, branches of rare and richest fruitfulness. Thence arose the religious worth of the New England states: the firm endurance, the vigour in enterprise, the might of intelligence, the depth of experience, the accuracy of theological science, and the loftiness of holy devotedness,-which marked such men as their Shepards and Eliots and Edwardses. In these, the most important departments of human exertion, a wondrous multitude of their descendants have sustained the honour of their ancestry.
Those men, of giant mind, yet with the simplicity of children, were chiefly intent upon the greatest work to which human instrumentality can be applied-the enlightening and conversion of souls. By their sermons, their pastoral labours, and their exemplary lives, they inscribed living epistles on the tablet of many a human heart; and, in their invaluable writings, they have sounded the depths and tracked the windings of mind in its undying capacities, its guilty ruin, and its susceptibility of restoration. They have laid bare the spiritual anatomy of themselves and of their fellow-men; and, in the masterly demonstration of