« ZurückWeiter »
he provided for; the poor children that he put to apprentice, and brought up at school, and maintained at the university, will now sound a trumpet to that charity which he dispersed with his right hand, but would not suffer his left hand to have any knowledge of it."
PREFACE TO THE SECOND EDITION.
THE motives by which I was induced to publish these Selections are explained in the annexed Preface to the first edition of this work. It was prepared in the retirement of the University, as a relaxation from severe studies, and to cherish the taste and genius that blessed the sweet charities of private life by which I was then surrounded.
But pleasures are like poppies spread,
A moment white-then melts for ever.
This second edition is published with the ardent hope that it may, in some sort, contribute to teach affliction how to direct its sorrows, and to turn its grief into virtues and advantages: that it may speak peace "when our eyelids are loosed with sickness, and our bread is dipped in tears, and all the daughters of music are brought low;"that, from the labours of these philosophers, prosperity may remember that "a man is what he knows; that of created beings the most excellent are those who are intelligent, and who steadily employ their gift of reason for the glory of the Creator and the relief of man's estate."
PREFACE TO THE THIRD EDITION.*
THE first edition of these Selections was published in the year 1805; the second in 1807. They have been for some years out of print;-but my engagements during the last twenty years have been so incessant, that, with every anxiety to assist in extending to others the blessings with which the works of these holy men abound, I have only occasionally, and not without difficulty, been able to appropriate a few moments to this labour of love. I trust that it will not have been in vain. "The delivery of knowledge is as of fair bodies of trees; if you mean to use the shoot, as the builder doth, it is no matter for the roots; but if you mean it to grow, as the planter doth, look you well that the slip has part of the root."+ I please myself with thinking that some of these Selections cannot but give immediate delight: and often, in my solitary walks through this noble city, more quiet to me than the retirement of academic bowers, I shall indulge the hope that this volume may, perchance, be opened by some young man who, at his entrance into life, is meditating upon that "suavissima vita indies sentire se fieri meliorem." May this little spark of holy fire direct him to the place where the star appears, and point to the very house where the babe lies. In the works of these ancient writers, which as so many lights shine before us, he will find what is better than rubies and gold, yea, than fine gold. He will learn not to be misled by the transient pleasures of life; but to seek for permanent happiness, where it can alone be found, in knowledge, in piety, and in charity.
* Published in 1829.
+ Lord Bacon.