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It is not in the hours of business, pleasure, or worldly anxiety which beset all men, that such thoughts and aspirations can find much place. There are times, however, when their solace is beyond price; and the reader is referred to those seasons, fully indicated in the lines of almost every Writer quoted in the present Volume.
This garland has been culled without reference to class or country. The Aristocracy of Genius can only be found in the Peerage of Nature; and as Nature is ever changing, yet always the same, so the thoughts of the best and purest of all lands are simply the old shadows clad in new veils. There is, however, one subject illustrated in the present Volume which claims our attention above all others. It need hardly be mentioned, that our Blessed Lord and his simple yet profound teachings are here alluded to.
The reader will do well to become acquainted with the works of the principal Writers quoted. Of some there are copious remains left to bless the earth with their pure halo. Of others, claimed for service in a higher and better world, we have but an expression or two left, to remind us and future ages, that the sweetest flowers oft die the soonest. Neither should we repine at this ; always hoping that our faith in seeing them again is firm and unfading. It is such a belief that carries us through this life with resignation and cheerfulness, causing us to value the time employed here simply as a short voyage towards the happy haven of eternal rest.
LONDON, JULY, 1856.