By Louisa Lane Clarke
I will not write a wearisome preface, but simply give the origin of the County Parson's Wife.
It was not intended for the press, but written upon the impulse of admiration which I felt on reading Herbert's Country Parson for the first time, after which the corresponding duties and difficulties of his wife arose in my mind, and filled chapter after chapter as they now appear.
The MS. volume passed from friend to friend, whose partial eyes found some pleasure and profit in this slight sketch. They advised me to publish it. I did not think that there was anything new to attract, or excellent to instruct, the public, and therefore hesitated; but there may be some who will read my little book with interest, some bearing the same holy office in whom it may recall a good resolution, or establish a high purpose; some to whom its pages may give comfort in their peculiar sorrows, or assist when perplexed with such difficulties as are here mentioned; and to these do I offer it in christian love, and with the humble hope that each, as they read, may feel more deeply the weight of responsibility which lies upon them, the high honour they are privileged to claim, the holy ground upon which they stand, and the narrow path they needs must tread, from the threshold of the earthly temple wherein they serve, to the gate of glory which is their entrance into eternal rest.
Holding out the right hand of fellowship, I present to my fellow labourers this example of an active and holy life; and in as far as it is in harmony with the spirit of Christ, in as far as it is in accordance with the word of God, so far do I earnestly desire that we may have grace and strength thus zealously to serve our Master, and follow the lowly steps and upward course of the Country Parson's Wife.