Primitive Christianity Revived, Again
A New Reprint of “A Guide To True Peace”
There are several publishing ventures which have taken advantage of new technology and publish reprints of older books and make them available again to a new generation. These older books are now in the public domain and thus can be copied freely. The new technologies consist of computer scanning techniques and print-on-demand computer storage. This means that the reprint houses do not have to incur the costs of a large inventory; rather they are able to print each copy as an order comes in.
One of these reprint houses, Nabu Public Domain Reprints, has just reprinted an early edition of “A Guide to True Peace”, a manual, or guide, to the practice of the prayer of inward silence. The ‘Guide’ was first published in England in 1813. The first American edition was 1816. The ‘Guide’ circulated widely among Quakers and has had a pervasive influence on how Quakers view the practice of silent prayer.
Nabu has reprinted the Third American Edition from 1846. I have compared the 1846 edition with the First American Edition of 1816, and with the exception of a few changes in capitalization and punctuation, they are the same. It is gratifying that the Quaker community will once again have access to this classic of inward and silent prayer.
Most Quakers who are familiar with the ‘Guide’ know of it through the Pendle Hill edition which was published in 1979. The 1979 edition is a reprint of the 1946 edition published by Harper; both contain an ‘Introduction’ by Howard Brinton which I have found quoted in quite a few places. Unfortunately, this edition is, in some ways, incomplete. The most significant lack in the 1979 edition is the absence of scriptural references. Quotation marks are placed around scriptural citations, but the actual location of the quote has been removed in this edition. For the dedicated student of the ‘Guide’ this is a problematic lapse. All earlier editions contain the scriptural references in a standard manner. One of the great benefits of having Nabu reprint the 1846 edition is that Quakers now have access to an edition of the ‘Guide’ that has these references and can, therefore, follow up on them with ease.
Sometimes reprint houses don’t do a very good job, but in this case I found the reproduction to be excellent; Nabu has actually enlarged the page making the print size very easy to read. There is an additional plus: the 1846 edition of the ‘Guide’ added as an appendix a short piece by William Shewen, “Counsel to the Christian Traveller”. I don’t know of any other edition of the ‘Guide’ that contains this (though I haven’t seen all of them). This is a brief, inspirational essay and the pairing of the two works well. It’s a nice added bonus.
You can purchase this reprint from Amazon:
A Guide To True Peace
Nabu Public Domain Reprints
$17.75, discounted by Amazon to $13.85