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In presenting to the public the following literary gems, a brief explanation may not be out of place.
The idea of compiling such a work as this was conceived more than a year ago, since which time we have been engaged in procuring material preparatory to its issue. Neither labor nor expense has been spared to secure the choicest productions of the best minds; and we are content to let our readers judge of the success of our endeavors. The names of many of the most eminent authors will be quickly recognized as among the contributors.
The poems by Bryant, Hopkins, and Torrey were published by us in a little pamphlet of choice poems issued in 1877, and being special favorites of the public they are reproduced in this collection. Mention should be made of the fact that Bryant's poem, “Our Fellow-Worshipers," was printed from the original manuscript of that venerable poet.
A few selections from English authors of the Puritan age, the age of English classics, have been made that our young people may form some idea of the richness of the literature of that period, and thus be stimulated to cultivate a better acquaintance therewith. For a similar reason specimens from the ancient Philosophers are given. These will show how devout heathens, having only the law of conscience as a moral guide, have realized the necessity of a high morality and a spotless virtue.
Several articles have been taken from other works, but in each instance with the consent of the author or publisher. A few that have previously appeared in print were contributed by their authors for publication in this work, while the remainder are here presented for the first time.
The paper and type were both duly considered when the work of printing was commenced, and every effort made to secure for these productions a presentation in all respects worthy of their excellence.
In conclusion we would say that while it has been our constant study in compiling these Fireside Readings to contribute to the enjoyment and happiness of the family circle, the most important aim has been to add to the brightness and happiness of life by making all its paths trend heavenward. Keeping this end in view we feel assured that a book has been produced that will be a welcome guest not only in the home of the ordinary reader, but in that of the more advanced scholar.
INDEX TO AUTHORS.
Antoninus, M. Aurelius, . . . . . 64, III
: : : : 27
. . . . . 72 Darling, Rev. M. W., M. A., . . . . 92 Epictetus, . . . . . . . 54, 109 Emerson, Prof. L. O. . . . . . 72, 112 Fliedner, Pastor Fritz, . . . . . . 26 Fairchild, Pres. James H., Ferguson, Rev. R. G., . . . . . . 79 Funk, Rev. John F., Gibson, Rev. Otis, . Gerhart, Rev. E. V., D. D Hall. Rev. John, D. D., . . . . . 10 Howe, Mrs. Julia Ward, . . . . .