In the summer of 1890 the author spent twelve weeks on the Atlantic Ocean and on the soil of Europe, having left home, at the urgent advice of physicians, parishioners, and friends, to recover from the effects of a severe illness -- the first in nineteen years of labor in the pastorate.
Soon after his return, many members of his congregation began to clamor for a public recital of his experiences abroad. After due deliberation, he gave notice of a series of Sunday evening sermons on "The Gospel of Foreign Travel," stating that if the first proved acceptable, the others, as announced, would follow, to the number of eleven in all; while, if the first seemed to be uninteresting, or ill-suited to the pulpit, it would be the last. The preacher's plan was simply this: to use what he saw and experienced under foreign skies to illustrate and enforce the gospel. He did not purpose to give secular lectures, but gospel discourses -- to set before his congregation the thoughts which came to him, as a student of divine truth, while he was beholding the wonders of the Old World.
At the close of the first discourse, delivered November 9, 1890, there was no doubt in the mind of the preacher as to his duty, and he went forward till the one became eleven, according to the original plan, and the eleven became eighteen. The last sermon was preached April 19, 1891. From the beginning of the series to the close, congregations equal to the capacity of the church listened to the discourses, and the preacher humbly trusts that much good was accomplished.
Early in the progress of the course of sermons, their publication in book form was suggested. That suggestion has come to the author again and again. At length he decided to make a book; and here it is. The sermons are presented, with the exception of a few slight alterations, just as they were originally delivered. The author hopes that, if the critics condescend to notice his book, they will not handle it as roughly as it may deserve, and prays that God will bless it to the spiritual good of all who may take the trouble to give it a perusal.
C. W. Winchester Methodist Episcopal Parsonage Medina, New York, 1891
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