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PREFACE TO THE FIRST EDITION.
Ir is not necessary to detain the reader with a dissertation on the nature, use, and importance of Illustrations in teaching and enforcing Moral and Religious Truths. Enough has been written upon these points; nor is it necessary that much, or anything, should be said by way of commending the book before him to his judgment. This shall be left to be done by the book itself.
This book is published with a view to supply a want which doubtless has been felt by thousands, to furnish a volume of Illustrations in variety of kind, in comprehension of subjects, in simplicity of arrangement, that would be serviceable at any time, and on any topic, to the teacher of Religious Truths. It is hoped that the object contemplated will, to some extent, be accomplished.
A book is enhanced in value in proportion to the ability which it possesses of creating or suggesting thought, by the thought which it contains, and the manner in which that thought is expressed. It is believed that the following pages possess this ability. While, on the one hand, the reader will find illustrations suited to his theme of study, he will find, if he observe the working of his mind, that others are suggested from other sources of a different nature. The intrinsic value and real use of such a work will be duly appreciated by all the thoughtful.
In this volume will be found community of mind, coming from a great variety of countries, ages, churches, and circumstances. Arminius and Calvin; Wesley and Toplady; Fletcher and Hill; Churchmen and Dissenters; Protestants and Papists; Philosophers and Divines; Poets and Historians; Infidels and Christians; Clergy and Laity, the Living and the Dead, meet side by side, and without a breath of discord or a line of controversy combine their testimonies in support of the same mighty themes of Divine Inspiration.
It may be necessary to suggest to the reader that in case he does not find as many views as he wishes under one general subject, he will, in almost every instance where practicable, find something more under a synonymous one.
That the selections and arrangement are perfect is far from being imagined. Difference in taste will of course create difference in judg ment upon this particular. After a work is finished, imperfections often show themselves when they were hid in the plan and in the process of workmanship. There are, however, many who, while they can point out a fault in a work complete, would have made greater faults had they been the workmen in carrying out the design. This is one of the privileges of which most critics do not fail very frequently to avail themselves.
After much prayer, labour, and pleasure, in the preparation of the Work, it is now commended to God for His blessing upon its use; and to the Reader for his assistance in every good word and work. The garden is laid out as best it could be for his service, with every variety of flowers, trees, and shrubs. If here and there he find a full-grown weed, or a bitter herb in bloom among the pleasant fruits and flowers, like the wise and happy bee, let him not object to gather honey from all alike. J. B.