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"Tive utterance does not wholly perish which many Jeoples utter; nay, this is the voice of God.'
A conviction somewhat like this of the Greek poet, transcribed on the title-page of this volume, led to its being undertaken. The purpose of the work is simply moral. The editor has believed that it would be useful for moral and religious culture if the sympathy of Religions could be more generally made known, and the converging testimonies of ages and races to great principles more widely appreciated. He has aimed to separate the more universal and enduring treasures contained in ancient scriptures, from the rust of superstition and the dross of ritual. He has omitted much, the value of which seemed chiefly local or temporary ; much which appeared to him, though true, deficient in impressiveness of statement; much more, no doubt, because unknown to him : but he would be much misunderstood if his suppressions should be regarded as intended to disparage the many cherished passages
of sacred writings not to be found in this book. Each nation has its full scriptures, and it is among the hopes with which this selection is offered to the public that it may lead to a more general and reverent study of them.
Under the necessary limitations of such a work, the editor has—beyond the Hebrew and Christian scriptures—confined his selections to those books of a moral or religious character which, having commanded the veneration of the races among whom they were produced, are still the least accessible to European readers.
1. The Inward Sinai.
This commandment which I command thee this day, is not hidden from thee, nor is it far off. It is not in the heavens, that thou shouldst say, Who will go up for us to the heavens, and bring it to us, that we may hear it, and do it? Nor is it beyond the sea, that thou shouldst say, Who will go over the sea for us, and bring it to us, that we may hear it, and do it? But the word is very nigh to thee, in thy mouth, and in thy heart, that thou mayest do
Thou shalt not make for thyself a graven image, nor any likeness of what is in heaven above, or what is in the earth beneath, or what is in the water under the earth : thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor shalt thou serve them.
Honour thy father and thy mother.