Saturday, December 20, 2014

My most valuable book

(I am speaking here of monetary value, not of spiritual value, although this is a very useful book.) For years I had read references to Semple's A History of the Rise and Progress of the Baptists in Virginia, published in 1810. I had resolved to get a copy when I got enough money stuck back. Finally I got the cash and asked a professional book-finder to get one for me. He found an original edition in good structural shape, which made it all the more valuable. Finally it arrived, and when I opened the package and looked at the title page, handwritten across it was "John Leland's Book." Some of you may not know who John Leland was, but he was a Baptist minister who was a profound thinker and writer on religious freedom and political science and who, because he knew personally some of the framers of the Constitution and vigorously expressed his views about it, was significantly instrumental in helping to bring about the Bill of Rights.

So, it appears that I have John Leland's personal copy of Semple's book, which is sort of like having a copy of the Declaration of Independence signed by Thomas Jefferson.

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