The work which is now again published was the result of too many years' steady application, and has served too great an intellectual use in the special department of thought of which it treats, to be allowed to fall into oblivion. Certainly the reading which the author thought it necessary to accomplish before he presented his conclusions to the public was vast, and varied. That the fruit of his labours was commensurate may be gathered from the honest admiration which has been expressed by men knowing what hard study really means. The first edition of the 'Hours with the Mystics' appeared in 1856; the second was, to a great extent, revised by the author, but it did not appear until after his death. It was edited by his father, though most of the work of correction and verification was done by the author's widow.
There is no intention of writing a memoir here. That has already been done. But it has been suggested that it might be interesting to trace how Mysticism gradually became the author's favourite study. To do that it may be well to give a very short sketch of his literary career.