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In a former volume, not unacceptable to the Christian public, J have unfolded Christianity before the Flood. In the present I have endeavored to set forth the same glorious faith developed under the shining tents, and irradiating the holy altars, which the world's grey fathers raised in the desert. It is very pleasant to go backward to those days of patriarchal life, and watch the phases of nature — the influences of grace — and the ever enveloping providential presence of the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. The patriarchs lived in the dawn of the Christian dispensation, and in the youthful days of the human race. Each tent was a little world revolving round its own fireside. Each patriarch was a prince ruling over few but faithful subjects. All of them were among the first experiments of grace in a fallen world, the first proofs of its transforming and elevating influences. No one can read their
biographies without interest. No Christian can study them without profit.
Joseph's life and history I have been unable to include in this volume. I must reserve it for another. It is the most touching of all.
Each patriarch lived for us. His voice is borne on the winds and waves of time to us. His words are still our comfort and assistance. I trust these sketches are not unwelcome to many that once listened and are now far away, but are —
As pleasant books that silently among -
And are to us as if a living tongue
Spake from the printed leaves as pictured faces.
Therefore I hope as no unwelcome guest,
To have my place reserved among the rest,