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HEY who have truly begun to learn the value of the Bible need few incentives to study it further.
Whoever has had a taste of lioney, or has been cheered by genial sunlight, will not refuse the one for bitter and poisonous weeds, nor prefer the darkness and chilly damps of a prison to the other. But many, unhappily, have never gained a relish for the wondrous truths of the Bible, nor been charmed by its literary beauties. It would befit a philosopher to account for such lack of susceptibility. A kindlier service is here rendered.
Wise men credit the testimony of explorers and discoverers, as they are believed to be
sagacious, upright, and truthful. An imposing array of witnesses, renowned for wisdom and genius, for patriotism and philanthropy, here testify to the same point, - a point to which they were qualified to speak. The statesman and the jurist, the poet and the orator, the philosopher, moralist, and the divine, successively assert and justify the claims of the Sacred Oracles to be reverently and faithfully studied. From such a number and variety of authors, a large volume of testimony like this might be gathered; but it is here deemed unwise to overtask the patience of the most moderate reader.
It is but frank, however, to say, that, while minds mature and cultivated may derive advantage from this compilation, it is chiefly designed for persons whose tastes, opinions, and habits are still pliant and forming. And since the known sentiments and opinions of virtuous and intelligent parents rightfully sway their children, ought not the worth and wisdom of those distinguished representatives of different periods and countries to clothe their earnest words, here recorded, with more than parental authority? Be it that the word is unpleasing and unpopular:
there is still that authority pertaining to integrity of character, to soundness of judgment, to largeness of observation and expe. rience, and to arguments brief, but terse and forcible, which none may wisely disregard.
If this little book shall beget an increased interest in the Bible, and a greater practical reverence for its teachings; if it shall prevail to silence cavillers, or to fortify its readers against their malign sophistries and quibbles; and if it shall prove to be an antidote, however feeble, to the present excessive taste for works of fiction, by fostering an opposite one for wholesome and vital truths, it will achieve ends both needful and benign.