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Evan Roberts Quote : Christian Books : PREFACE.

Forty Years In South China by Rev. John Gerardus Fagg


The accompanying resolution of the Board of Foreign Missions of the Reformed Church in America, November 16, 1892, explains the origin of this volume:

|Resolved, That the Board of Foreign Missions, being firmly convinced that a biography of the late John V. N. Talmage, D.D., for over forty years identified with the Mission at Amoy, would be of great service to the cause of Missions, heartily recommend to the family of Dr. Talmage the selection of an appropriate person to prepare such a memoir, and in case this is done, promise to render all the aid in their power in furnishing whatever facts or records may be of service to the author of the book.|

The writer raised his pen to this task with hesitancy. He had known Dr. Talmage only little more than a year; long enough, indeed, to revere and love him, but not long enough to tell the story of so rich and fruitful a life.

Dr. Talmage was a man of unconscious greatness. If he could have been consulted it is doubtful whether a public record of him would have ever seen the light. His life to him would have seemed too commonplace and unworthy. He was exceedingly careful in the use of language. He could not endure exaggeration. Nothing so commanded his admiration as honesty and accuracy of statement. That ought to be sufficient to guard any one who speaks of such a man against indiscriminate eulogy.

We have endeavored as far as possible to make this memoir an autobiography. To carry out this purpose has not been without difficulties.

Dr. Talmage did not keep a continuous diary. He did not preserve complete files of his correspondence as if anticipating the needs of some possible biographer.

The author's enforced retirement from the mission field in the midst of collecting and sifting material, has been no small drawback.

It is hoped, however, that enough has been gleaned to justify publication. Sincerest thanks are due to those brethren who contributed to the concluding chapter, |In Memoriam.|

If these pages may more fully acquaint the Church of Christ with a name which it should not willingly let die, and deepen interest in and hasten by the least hair-breadth the redemption of |China's Millions,| the author will feel abundantly rewarded.


October 1, 1894.

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