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BY M. STUART,
FLAGG, GOULD, & NEW MAN.
Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1833, by
FLAGG, GOULD, AND NEWMAN, in the Clerk's office of the District Court of Massachusetts.
Tappan Presb. An 4-5-1932
The occasion and design of publishing the little volumes entitled Select Classics, may be stated in a few words. It is customary with me, always to recommend to my pupils in sacred philology, the daily reading of some portion of a good Latin or Greek classical writer. This I do, in order that they may increase their knowledge of the ancient languages, and be able to judge of the difference between classical idioms and those of the Scriptures. But this is not my only motive. Believing that the study of the best Latin and Greek authors is very important to the cultivation of an improved taste in literature, and to the acquisition of tact and ability in criticism and in writing, I feel it to be a matter of serious consequence, that every theological student should devote some portion of his time to this employment.
But what shall he read? Merely to repeat the read. ing of college books, would be unattractive to most students. And if they are to extend it beyond these limits, what shall be selected ? A question of more difficulty to the young student, (whose circle of ac. quaintance with the classics is generally somewhat narrow), than every one will be apt to imagine. And even after he has made his choice, how shall he obtain 'the pieces which he desires? They appear, more usually, only in the large collections; which he cannot afford to purchase. Or if separately printed, they are not published, perhaps, in our country; or if they are, most of them are merely copies of European editions, which (the school-books excepted) are principally characterized by notes on the various readings of the text; in which he, who studies for profit and pleasure, can feel but little if any interest. Grammarians and critical editors alone can profit much by these. But the
great mass of readers belong to neither of these classes. Consequently, they need an exegetical coinmentary. They are, and ought to be, much more interested to know what the text in general means, than to know how a solitary word or phrase, which now and then occurs,
is to be read. The Select Classics which I now publish, are intended wholly for this latter class of readers. In particular are they designed for young readers in our country, who need to be allured and guided and encouraged, with respect to classical study.
The plan which I have adopted, supersedes the necessity of printing a continuous translation. Every passage, in which I have supposed inat there could be any difficulty, the student will find translated or explained in the notes; and some perhaps will even wonder, that I have done so much in this way, rather than so little. None, I would hope, will have reason to complain, that the meaning of the author is not made sufficiently evident; so far, at least, as I am able to understand and explain it. That I have always understood it rightly, I would not venture to assert. I can only say, that I have devoted to the study of it, as much time as I could possibly spare from my other duties and studies; and that I indulge the hope, that I shall not often mislead the student.
If it should be asked, why I have been so liberal in my biographical and historical notes and explanations ; my answer is, that I have adopted this course for several reasons. Most readers have not the sources at hand, from which I have drawn more or less of them. Many of these sources are in languages, which the students in general of our country do not understand. And even in cases where the reader may have access to these sources, and be able to draw from them, it is not often the case, when he sits down to spend a few leisure moments in reading a classic, that he feels inclined to load his table with biographical, geographical, chronological, and historical works, (not to mention many other helps), in order that he may proceed with a due understanding of his author.
It falls, moreover, within the special design of the
present publication, to render classical reading easy, and attractive, and profitable. Whatever may be said as to the expediency of this, with reference to students who are pursuing classical studies as a daily business, and whose strength may sometimes be put to the trial by the reading of text without note or comment; such a principle is not applicable to the present case. I publish these volumes for the aid of those, who wish to renew their acquaintance with the classics, or to increase their knowledge of them, with as little expense of time and money as possible. To purchase all the helps, which I have made use of for their benefit, would be expensive; to study them, would require time and pains which many will hardly deem themselves able to spare.
It has been my endeavour, in the notes and appendix to this work, to point out in what manner we should read the Greek and Roman writers in order truly to profit by them. If I have succeeded in the attempt, it may encourage others to rise up as editors among us, in the like way,
In the text of the present volume, I have not implicitly followed any one edition. I have had before me the editions of Ernesti, of Rath, of Nobbe, and of Carey; all recent editors; the three last, I believe, still living. In doubtful cases I have selected that which seemed to me the most probable reading; and in this, I have some, times agreed with one, and sometimes another, of these editors. As we have no manuscripts in this country from which a new edition of the text could be formed, I have done all in respect to it, that the nature of the case seemed to admit. From none of these editions have I derived any exegetical aid, which is worthy of being mentioned. Rath's book is a large one, and filled with notes; but almost all of them are occupied with speculations concerning the state of the text.
The punctuation, I may say, is wholly my own. I found none with which I was satisfied. Carey's I regard as the best; and Nobbe's stands next; while that of Ernesti often and almost of necessity obscures the meaning of the text; at least it does so for me. By careful and diligent attention to the punctuation, I