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Page:Early Christianity in Arabia.djvu/7

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PREFACE.


When the following pages were written, the author, who was then very young, pursued with at least considerable zeal the study of the Oriental languages and literature, a study which, upon his entering the university, he laid aside, not again to be resumed. The historical essay now published was written in the belief that the events which it relates had received but little attention in this country, and had never been presented in a popular form to English readers; and at the same time he thought, as he is still inclined to think, that they form an interesting episode in the history of mankind, and that they are a necessary introduction to our knowledge of the origin of that religion which has exercised so mighty an influence on the whole world during the middle ages. He had preserved the manuscript without any determinate idea of publishing it, until the general interest in the affairs of the East which has been raised by the great events that are now taking place has led him to believe that his sketch of the