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As to the substance of the work, it is the Christianity of the Bible. Here Ecclesiastical and doctrinal controversies have no place. Of these, we have, perhaps, more than enough elsewhere. Far from the noise of polemic strifes, here the Christian of

every name may

find treat, surrounded by an atmosphere balmy with the breath of heaven, and vocal only with the chorus of

Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will towards men.” And though distant times, and many minds, and different Christian communions, furnish the entertainment, there is unity in multiplicity, and sweetest harmony in variety of sounds. This blessed accord of distant ages, and different Ecclesiastical Organizations, may contribute in no small degree to confirm the faith of all, in the sum and substance of our holy religion—to abolish the distances which separate brethren of a common faith—and to produce that spiritual unity of the disciples of Jesus, by which an infidel world shall be confounded, and brought into the common fold, under the one common Shepherd.

The Authors used in preparing this work, all lived and wrote, either prior to, or during the seventeenth century, save one, who belongs to the first generation of the present century. Their names are a sufficient commendation of their writings. They are destined to furnish instruction, and minister to the piety and pleasure of the people of God for ages to come. Among others of various excellences, here you will meet with the beautiful and fervid teachings of Chrysostom, or the golden-inouthed Greek Father—the deep and devout utterances of Augustine, the Latin Father—the richness of Taylor—the earnestness

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of Baxter—the sublimity of Howe—the calm and lucid expositions of Davenant—the striking illustrations and fullness of Reynolds—the tender appeals of Flavel—the sweetness and unction of Leighton-and the silvery eloquence of Bates—all presenting the highest truths so as to enlighten the understanding, warm the heart, and direct the practice of a holy life, and thus, under the blessing of God, to make you wise for both time and eternity.

We have endeavored so to select and arrange the materials of the work, that doctrine, experience, and holy practice, may intermingle, and mutually support each other. It has been sought to exhibit every aspect of the Christian life, and to make the following pages a directory to that wisdom which is from above, which is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be entreated, full of mercy, and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy.

The writer has striven to adapt this work to all classes of Christians. Short, but full readings, are here prepared for their use. The old, and those whose daily occupations prevent much devotion to reading, may, by the appropriation of a few minutes each day, stimulate holy thought, nourish the Divine life within, and acquire strength and cheerfulness amid the duties and conflicts without.

The Pastors and Teachers of the Lord's people, may find this book not an unwelcome or unprofitable daily companion. While its constant use may contribute to the cultivation of personal holiness, it may also be suggestive of much that may avail for the profit of the flocks committed to their care.

And here especially, that numerous and interesting class of society, the youth of both sexes, may find a book peculiarly adapted by its pleasing variety, to engage their attention, and lure them into daily converse with some of the noblest intellects, and purest hearts, that ever gleamed or pulsated upon the theatre of time. And I will not conceal, that I have had constantly in my eye, while making these selections, the youths of our land, who are crowding the halls of both secular and theological learning. What incalculable advantage might accrue to them, for all the great purposes of existence, by making this book, together with the Bible, their daily companion !

It may, perhaps, be thought that the writer uses a tone of too much confidence in speaking of his own work. If the materials were his own, this might be so.

But the materials belong to others; and the verdict of time has stamped them with approbation, and commended them more strongly, than could be done by the pen or tongue of any living man. My office is an humble one. And in the language of Jerome, I would say ; “I do not wish to be a teacher, but I promise to be thy companion. To him that asks, it is given; to him that knocks, it is opened; the seeker finds. Let us learn on earth the things of which the clear intelligence remains for us in heaven.”


DANVILLE, VA., June 22, 1860.

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