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NOTE TO THE NEW EDITION OF ANCIENT SACRED SCRIPTURES OF THE WORLD.
The first edition of this Work was issued fourteen years ago. In spite of the high cost of the volume, which rendered it necessary to place its lowest selling price at Three Dollars, nearly the whole edition of a thousand volumes was sold within a few months. So many objections were made to it, however, by ultra "orthodox" critics that the compiler arranged with the publishers to defer the issue of a second edition till he might have time to carefully reconsider the whole volume and make any changes in the translations, or in the arrangements, or in the statements of the preface, chapter-headings, or notes which might appear to be honestly and intelligently called for.
The study of Comparative Religion was just then beginning to be somewhat popular, and those investigations of the Christian Bible which are now known as Higher Critcism had but just commenced among the "orthodox" Biblical Scholars of England and of America. On this account, too, it seemed to the Compiler advisable to wait developments. After fourteen years of thoughtful reconsideration, and of eager, unceasing study, the amazing and profound revelations of Higher Criticism Investigations and of Comparative Religion Studies have so confirmed the substantial accuracy, as well as the ripening timeliness of his Work that the Compiler has felt it his duty to authorize the publishers to proceed with the issue and sale of a second edition.
'' This conception is bringing back the Bible to us. Much of it has been a lost book. The whole library has stood on our shelves or laid on our parlor table, but to many a devout soul the Bible really used has consisted of the Gospels, certain of the Psalms, a few extracts from the Pentateuch, and some from Paul's Epistles. The new study of the Bible has opened other books, and is still opening other books to us. The New Criticism is not taking away from the Bible, nor undermining it, nor obscuring it; on the contrary, this study and interpretation of the Bible is reinstating it, reopening it, clarifying its meaning. The process is like that to which the best architects in England are subjecting some of the old cathedrals. Removing plaster and whitewash and paint, they uncover in some cases fine carvings which had been wholly lost fot generations. This is what the higher criticism is doing for the Bible. It is a restoration of a splendid but obscured literary cathedral. It will make the use of the Bible wider and the reverence for it at once deeper and more intelligent." —From a recent editorial of The Outlook.
As assurance of the reliability and timeliness of this volume, to those who may require it, a few out of many commendations of the Press given to its first Edition are here printed.
"The grouping together of all that is of ethical value in the most celebrated writings of the world, was a happy thought on the part of the author. Many who hesitate to put the Old Testament as it stands in the hands of children, will find in this book all that is devotional and helpful in the Bible,"—New York Tribune.
"To show the essential unity of the Divine teachings to man, through many human voices which have spoken as the oracle of God, is the purpose of this book. We are glad to approve this volume, which aims to popularize the choice passages from the religious literature of many races."—Friends' Intelligencer.
"A great service has been rendered, not only to Bible-readers, but also to the lovers of noble thought and aspiration among all peoples. . . . Should find a place at once as the best selection of the kind yet made."— The Continent.
"It seems an honest and intelligent effort to use the best portions of all sacred writings for the promotion of good among men. In its general idea it is somewhat novel as well as comprehensive, and is well worthy the attention of those whose thought is drawn in kindred directions."—Chicago Times.
"An honest and sincere effort to get the winnowed wheat from a dozen religious literatures, and obtain v^-xl genuine help each can afford."—New York Star.
"The entire work is an eloquent argument in favor of that Catholicity which rises above creeds."—San Francisco Sunday Chronicle.
"There are occasional indications that the time has not wholly passed when ministers and teachers thought it needful to set up the Bible by putting the sacred writings of heathen origin into an odious contrast, making the faces of law-giver and apostle shine by painting the faces of Confucius, Gautama, and Mahomet black. The few living relics of this humiliating past—who appear never to have read Romans ii or Acts xvii—have but to consult the selections made from Persian, Hindu, Buddhist, Grecian and Arabian sources, to see, not only how ungenerous but how shallow is their estimate of the sages of Gentile antiquity. Perhaps they will see a new meaning in the declaration which, in the very connection which rebukes certain heathen for certain ' vain things,' adds: 'Nevertheless He left not Himself without witness.'"—Bos/on Christian Leader.
"It is, in fact, the cream of all that has been said by saint and sage, bard and philosopher, poet and prophet, inspired and uninspired, on the subject of religion and morals. The type, paper, and binding are elegant, and the volume is one to lie within reach and be read daily. It would bless any reverent reader."—Chicago Star.
"The object of the book is to fumish aid to all students of the Scriptures, and the editor has admirably succeeded in the undertaking. It will make a valuable addition to every library."—Indianapolis Journal.
"The Editor has done his work excellently well. Whether or not he win converts to his Gospel of Catholicity, he has at least put within the reach of those who choose to read it, evidence that the Christian Scriptures do not enjoy a monopoly of the teachings of morality."—Troy Times.
"One of the singularities of the book is the heading which the Editor places above a letter from Max Mailer to him. He calls it a 'Letter of Catholicity.' 'I wish you all success in your endeavors after a religion of humanity,' writes Prof. Mailer, 'but success to be solid must not be too rapid. The true religion of the future will be the fulfilment of all the religions of the past—the true religion of humanity,' that which in the struggle of history remains as the indestructible portion of all the so-called false religions of mankind. There never was a false God, nor was there ever really a false religion, unless you call a child a false man." The volume shares the difficulties of all eclectic books, anthologies, compilations from Scripture, but certainly the spirit in which it was undertaken was most liberal, and the sentiments of Max Mailer, which form a sort of motto for it, those of the wisest and most advanced among the reverent minds of the present day."—New York Times.
"The Editor's book is a sort of survival of the fittest out of the mass of devout literature of all sects and religions. It is just such a selection as is needed by ministers, teachers, parents, and scholars all over the country."— Wwtcrn Herald.
"Will greatly interest the common reader and the ordinary student, and will make him thankful that so much has been so well done."—Boston Index.
"The work is carefully arranged and very amply provided with general tables of subject-matter and minor summaries at the head of each division. Selections from the sacred books of the great religions of the world are added, and occupy about one third of the handsome octavo volume in which this work appears. The whole offers a very interesting field of investigation and comparison."—Hartford Post.
"Asa volume showing the comparative ethical qualities of the inspired, and of human, sacred writings, it is not without much interest to the student of comparative religions."—Zion's Herald.
"A volume abounding with sound piety and religious sentiment. By its use, the reader will be able to see what it is that has gone to forming the thought of nations other than those with which he is most familiar, and how widespread is the spirit of the highest devotion. To scholars, these facts have of late years been familiar. Here they are presented in their simplest and most attractive light. Consequently the book may be cordially commended to all students of ethics. It cannot fail to arouse interest."—Boston Daily Advertiser.
"It bears all the evidence of being prepared by an honest, earnest, thinking Christian man who thoroughly believes in the value and importance of his work."—Chicago Inter-Ocean.
"The work promises to be of great interest; and the new translations of the Bible, which are said to be remarkably satisfactory, will be eagerly compared with the same passages from the revised version."—Philadelphia Post.
"It is unquestionably a book of large and substantial value."—Detroit Press.
BEING SELECTIONS OF THE MOST DEVOTIONAL AND ETHICAL PorTIONS
DESIGNED FOR COMMON USE IN CHURCHES, SCHOOLS, AND HOMES, OR WHER-
COMPILED, EDITED, AND IN PART RETRANSLATED \/
During the past twelve years Rector in Succession of St. John's Protestant Episcopal Church,
Proverbs are sayings without an author
The originals are not original
For neither now nor yesterday began
These thoughts, which have been ever, nor yet can
A man be found who their first entrance knew
G. P. PUTNAM'S SONS
NEW YORK & LONDON