Three Thousand Selected Quotations from Brilliant Writers
THE genius of quotation is abroad. Public speakers, preachers, pleaders, and teachers are wont to enrich their addresses with the bright utterances of brilliant men. If this practice be managed deftly and honestly, there is good in it. The long processes of many years of study are often concentrated into a single paragraph, and often delivered in a figure of surpassing force. Even opinions possess helpfulness in such uses. "Great authorities are arguments," so Daniel Webster used to say.
Attention is arrested, interest is awakened, persuasion is secured, by the mention of some well-known author's name, and the waiting audience grow eager for the sentence which is coming. Even if the purpose be no higher than mere ornamentation, the practice need not be despised. Beauty and utility are not necessarily and always to be divorced. We are told that Samuel Rogers, the opulent poet, owned one of the very few notes of the value of a hundred thousand pounds issued by the Bank of England. He had it framed and hung in his reception room. Beautifully finished, it was as effective for decoration on his wall as any other engraving of the same dimensions; and then it was in itself a fortune. So a writer can light up his disquisition sometimes with the issue of some masterful mind's wealth; it adorns with its shining, it enriches with its worth.
It is not to be understood that I have read all the selections included in this volume. I have but touched the pages here and there, and looked through the index. The work seems to have been done with wide research, with commendable exactness, and with good taste; and I am more than willing to bid the book God-speed.
CHARLES S. ROBINSON.
WHY ARE NOT MORE GEMS FROM OUR GREAT AUTHORS SCATTERED OVER THE COUNTRY? GREAT BOOKS ARE NOT IN EVERY BODY'S REACH; AND THOUGH IT IS BETTER TO KNOW THEM THOROUGHLY THAN TO KNOW THEM ONLY HERE AND THERE, YET IT IS A GOOD WORK TO GIVE A LITTLE TO THOSE WHO HAVE NOT THE TIME NOR MEANS TO GET MORE.
IT IS EXCELLENT DISCIPLINE FOR AN AUTHOR TO FEEL THAT HE MUST SAY ALL THAT HE HAS TO SAY IN THE FEWEST POSSIBLE WORDS, OR HIS READER IS SURE TO SKIP THEM; AND IN THE PLAINEST POSSIBLE WORDS, OR HIS READER WILL CERTAINLY MISUNDERSTAND THEM. GENERALLY, ALSO, A DOWNRIGHT FACT MAY BE TOLD IN A PLAIN WAY; AND WE WANT DOWNRIGHT FACTS AT THE PRESENT MORE THAN ANY THING ELSE.
IN making this collection of brief and pointed selections "from the religious literature of all ages," it has been the aim of the compiler:
I. To use only such extracts as clearly and forcibly express or apply some religious truth.
II. To make the character of the book "evangelical."
III. To avoid all denominational tendencies. Indeed it has been one object to show the essential unity of the faith of the different sects composing the Christian church.
IV. To present doctrine, not so much as a complete system of theology, as the frame-work—the sustaining principle of holy living.
V. To give especial prominence to American authors.
All the subjects are arranged alphabetically, with the exception of the subdivisions of the topic "Christ," which are grouped in two classes in what seems to be the natural order: first, "The Historic Christ," and second, "The Living Christ".
As all matter of the book is selected, quotation marks are not generally used, whether the author's name is given or omitted.
J. H. G.
HE THAT LAYS DOWN PRECEPTS FOR GOVERNING OUR LIVES, AND MODERATING OUR PASSIONS, OBLIGES HUMANITY NOT ONLY IN THE PRESENT, BUT IN ALL FUTURE GENERATIONS.
IF YOU WOULD BE PUNGENT, BE BRIEF; FOR IT IS WITH WORDS AS WITH SUNBEAMS—THE MORE THEY ARE CONDENSED, THE DEEPER THEY BURN.
THE PROVERB ANSWERS WHERE THE SERMON FAILS.