THE first edition of this "Short History" was
published in January, 1892. This first edition has long been out of
print. The fire of February 2, 1896, consumed all the stock of books
on hand. The author then proposed that, instead of reprinting from the
old plates, the Society thenceforth publish two editions of the work:
one to be a small book that could be sold at a merely nominal price,
the other a larger volume with illustrations. This proposal was
favorably received, and the first part of the project was at once
realized in the "Phoenix edition." In the revision of the text for
that edition a considerable amount of new matter was added.
The second part of the project was by no means so easy a matter, and a decade has been required for its accomplishment. It required a restudy of the whole field covered, step by step, with utmost care. It involved the careful rewriting of the entire work and the addition of much new matter. It included months of foreign travel, and the collection of an immense quantity of Illustrative material, only a small part of which has proved available for this edition. The book now in the reader's hand contains more than twice as much matter as the first edition, yet the volume is not too big nor the story too prolix, it is believed, to justify the retention of the original title of "A Short History of the Baptists."
The book has thus grown to what the author hopes will prove, so far as the text is concerned, its definitive form. But he still cherishes a hope that, at some future time, his ideas regarding its illustration may be more completely realized. No sane publishers would, however, incur the necessary expense of such illustration unless fully assured of support in so doing. Our Publication Society has gone to the present limit of prudence in this matter. If the Baptists of America would like an edition of this history, with all of the interesting and valuable portraits, ancient edifices, facsimiles of documents, and other curious and instructive illustrative matter in the author's possession or at his command, they have only to make that wish unmistakably known and they can have it. The unmistakable evidence of their desire (need it be added") will be a sale of this present edition commensurate with the favor that has been shown to its predecessors.
The author gladly takes this opportunity of expressing his obligations to the friends who have given assistance in his work, especially to those who, by pointing out its imperfections, have made possible its betterment. A host of good Christian people, by no means confined to our own denomination, have sent words of commendation, of counsel, of helpful suggestion. To such, one and all, thanks have been returned in the one convincing way: by leaving nothing undone to make the book worthy of their appreciation.
Special thanks are due to Messrs. G. P. Putnam's Sons for their supplying five duplicate plates from their "Heroes of the Reformation" series, and to the American Baptist Home Mission Society for the loan of the beautiful half-tone portrait of John M. Peck.
CROZER THEOLOGICAL SEMINARY, February, 1907