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I have, therefore, gladly responded to the invitation of the publishers to prepare such a help to devout thinking for the Jewish church; whether and in how far I have struck the right path, the future will tell.
I have, however, departed from my predecessors in one essential point;
I have exchanged the guiding line of Dates, followed by them, for a line of Subjects, systematically arranged and provided with appropriate headings. The former plan seemed to me all too formal and mechanical. Man's mind is not like an organ, which can be set to play any tune we wish, by putting a sheet of paper into it. Our moods cannot be regulated by dates.
What we want is “strength according to our own days,” which are more many-colored than was Joseph's coat. When, on the first of June, we greet the morning with a light and contented heart—we shall turn, in a sort of anger, from the page bearing that date, on finding that it gives us a death-bed confession, or, if sad and burdened, and longing for a word of comfort, we find Blackie's Song of Glee offered for our morning devotion. When God has filled our mouths with laughter, our diurnal reading should not fill our eyes with tears. The system, which I have adopted, saves the reader from such recoils. The full index of subjects in front of the book makes it easy for him to find a subject most consonant with his actual frame of mind; whilst, when his days follow each other in an even tenor, he may select his topic and be led, step by step, to consider it in its various bearings. Another advantage of the present system is that I could take due notice of Sabbaths and Festivals and provide readings suitable for those days. The expression on the title page “for every-day use” should be understood, not only as characterizing the practical nature of the readings, but also in its numerical sense, every day of the year. There are three hundred and sixty-six readings, divided into twelve sections or books, after the months of the year, regard being had to the order of the Festivals in the Jewish church-year. In the arrangement of subjects I have been guided by the wish to present to the reader a concise, yet comprehensive, view of modern Judaism which, I trust, will be as welcome to the Jewish as to the nonJewish reader. Dogmatic, philosophical or historic treatises are not the writings which attract the majority of people. A brief statement, in clear and non-scholastic terms, appeared to me the best vehicle to convey such information to circles where it is much needed. It is mostly here where I speak in propria persona, whilst in the field of ethics, of what the Germans call Weltweisheit, and of the principles of universal religion, I have invited greater minds, lights of the world, poets of mankind, to speak their Divine prophecies once more to our generation; and assist me in providing a table for those who hunger after righteousness and thirst for the true word of the ever-inspiring God. To those of their holy order who have joined the Choir Invisible, may this re-awakening of their voices be as a thank-offering ; whilst to those of my contributors, who are happily still in the land of the living, I hereby offer my thanks with an upright heart.
The Scripture texts at the head of each article have not been placed there as a mere compliment to the Venerable Book, to which I would, in this wise“ pay its dues in bows"; but from the conviction of their incomparable value for the upbuilding of a religious mind. I have bestowed much labor on their selection and would entreat those, who shall use this book, not to pass them over lightly, but to pause awhile after reading and try to grasp their meaning and note their beauty, simplicity and elevation. Would that I could have given them, as they live in my own mind, in their native garb; such was our wont only half a century ago! For the most skilful rendering is, as has been pithily said, a surrendering of part of the meaning and force of the original. True in all cases, it is signally so in that of the Bible; religion being the great and all-absorbing purpose of the nation which created that literature, the national tongue was formed for the expression of religious thought and feeling, as was no other. But even in a strange tongue, this is what one, competent to speak, says of Scripture quotations:
The charm which Scripture quotation adds to writing, let those tell who have read Milton, Bunyan, Burke, Forster, Southey, Croly, Carlyle, Macauley, yea, and even Byron, all of whom have sown their pages with this orient pearl and brought thus an impulse from Divine Inspiration to add to the effect of their own. Extracts trom the Bible always attest and vindicate their origin. They nerve what else in the sentence in which they occur is pointless; they clear a space for themselves, and cast a wide glory around the page where they are found. Taken from the “ Classics of the Heart” all hearts vibrate more or less strongly to their voice. It is even as David felt of old toward the sword of Goliath when he visited the high-priest and said: There is none like that, give it me.
(Gilfillan.) And George Herbert says:
"A verse may find him who a sermon flies.” As the number of flyers from sermons is exceptionally large in these latter days, I thought it labor well-bestowed, carefully to select
which seemed to me to possess that heartsearching power. I have been equally solicitous in the choice of the poetical quotations, avoiding mere rhymed platitudes, or metred inanities, or spiritless and hollow Wortgekling el, but have aimed at conveying, in the artistic form, a poetical thought akin to the ideas presented in the prose portion. I did not think it necessary to add the poets' names to these fragments, partly, because I would not cumber the pages with names by which the reader's attention is often lured from his text; partly, because such brief quotations are mostly given by all writers without mentioning the poet's name. Only where a whole poem is inserted, I deemed it my duty to both, author and reader, to subjoin the name of the “ Happy Rhymer."
I may not close these prefatory remarks without acknowledg
ing my obligations to my publishers, who not only (as I have already stated) took the initiative in the preparation of this book, but have foreborn with me when I could not help, from want of time, to put their patience to severe tests, and who never stood back at any suggestion by which the usefulness of the book could be increased and its outer garment made more pleasing to the eye; so that it is as much for their sakes, as for my own, that I desire to see these pages fulfil the mission for which they were intended. And let this be my last word to the gentle Reader : Brother, Sister, whoever thou be who enters this “ little sanctuary" which I have reared with more labor and more anxious thought than appears to the eye—mayest thou indeed here “meet with God” and may the words, heard in its stillness, ever prove to thee“words in season,” lighting thy way to that special grace thou standest in need of; and mayest thou, thereby, be helped to fulfil thy highest obligation: to hallow the name of God and receive, what our sages call: the seal and confirmation of all blessings: peace !I beseech God so to prosper the work of my hand, mind and heart.
XI. The God we Worship in