To the Reader,
Amongst all the grand doctrines which the bible reveals to fallen man, that of the trinity in unity; a triune GOD, is perhaps the most sublime, and therefore it may appear somewhat like presumption in a woman to exercise her pen upon such a subject; but in times like the present, when this glorious truth is so awfully denied by many, when arianism, sabelianism, and socinianism is pouring in upon us like a flood, and some even dare to stand forth in public and blaspheme that worthy name by which we are called, it ought not to be wondered at if even the stones in the street rose up with indignation, and found a voice to bear testimony to the dignity, and to assert the Deity of their divine Creator. – Let this consideration plead my excuse.
Impressed with a deep sense of the importance of the subject, and conscious of my own utter inability to defend so illustrious a truth, fearing to darken council by words without knowledge, I wished, but durst not for several years, attempt any thing of this kind, though requested by several friends to do it; however, an unexpected solicitation from a gentleman at that time a perfect stranger, to me, prevailed upon me to take up my pen – I viewed it as the voice of providence, and therefore durst not refuse. So far as I am capable of knowing my own heart, I know this, that I do not write from interested motives, I feel the highest satisfaction in the testimony of my conscience, that I write not for the gain or applause of the world: if the Lord Jesus Christ, the great God my Saviour, is glorified in the smallest degree, if his cause is any way promoted; and any, if it be only one, of his children edified by any thing he has enabled me to write, my labour will be richly repaid, and he shall have the glory. Conscious as I am of the many improprieties of language and deficiencies in point of grammar, which are very discernable in these poems and tracts, I feel myself constrained to put in a humble claim to the candid attention of my readers, from the consideration that I am a Woman, that I have not enjoyed the advantages of a liberal education; that some of the pieces were written many years ago, and that I have not had the kind assistance of any judicious friend in preparing them for the press, or even in correcting and revising the proof sheets, but have gone through the whole fatigue of this work myself, and that in the midst of much weakness and indisposition of body. – When these facts are duly weighed, I flatter myself that the soft and gentle hand of candour will draw a veil over the inaccuracies of the following pieces, and skreen them from the severity of the keen eye of criticism. However, such as they are, I commit them to the care and blessing of heaven; and I am encouraged to do this, because I know the Lord of Hosts is a God of unlimited power, he can not only bless the labours of his great and eminent fervants, but he can also bless, the feeblest attempts for his glory, and own the weakest instrument; he is pleased sometimes to make use of weak and contemptible things to confound the mighty and the wise, that no man should glory in man, but that Christ should be all in all, I Cor. i. 26, 31. That he may be all your salvation and all your desire, gentle reader, is the sincere prayer of
Yours, for Christ’s sake,
Maria de Fleury.
No. 31, Jewin Street,
July 29, 1791.
Text: Divine Poems and Essays, pp. v-vi.