To an age which exhibits a lamentable and gravely deficient performance of parental responsibilities, this collection of fatherly letters is a rebuke. Portrayed throughout these addresses on practical subjects is a caring father exercising an active, intelligent and farsighted parental leadership which is in stunning contrast to the passivity and thoughtlessness which characterizes parenthood today.
Regardless of the particular subjects address, this father evidences the conscious awareness that his daughter’s greatest good can be realized only in saving union with Christ and that her surpassing duty in this life is to work out her salvation by cultivating the graces and virtues of Christian character. The certainties of death and judgment seem never to be far from this father’s mind whether he counsels his daughter on the formation of friendships or practical religion.
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William Buell Sprague’s (1795-1896) first pastoral charge was with the Congregational Church in West Springfield, Massachusetts, where he served from 1820-29. In 1829 he accepted a call to Albany, NY, to serve as pastor at Second Presbyterian Church. A beloved pastor and eloquent preacher, Sprague’s forty years of ministry in Albany were also marked by tremendous literary productivity. His publications include sermons, biographies, historical pieces, lectures, and an important volume addressing a biblical and historical view of the origins, effects, and fruits of a Holy Spirit-originated revival.