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THE art of communicating truth to the mind by emblems, parables, and other similitudes, is of the remotest antiquity. It is, in fact, a mode which the Divine Being often uses to convey instruction to his creatures. Of course it must be admitted to be a legitimate method of communicating instruction sanctioned by the highest possible authority.
The object of the authors of this work is to give to the public a book of emblems, with suitable explanations, observations, and reflections, the tone or standard of which shall be in accordance with the great cardinal principles of the Christian religion. Works of a somewhat similar kind have occasionally appeared, some of which, though valuable, yet the standard of morality which they apparently set forth, is too vague and ill-defined, or too far below what ought to be the standard of those professing Christianity. It has been our aim in the drawing of the cuts, to avoid all the monstrosity connected with heathen mythology, or any thing overstrained or uncouth in appearance. We have also endeavored to produce a work, the tone or morality of which shall be in accordance with Christian principles.
Many portions of divine truth are forcibly illustrated by similitudes. The Prodigal Son, the Parable of the Sower, the Good Samaritan, the Good Shepherd, and many other parables recorded in sacred writ are beautiful demonstrations of this truth. These illustrations are, in reality, pictures to the mind, as the pictorial representations in this work are to the eye. They therefore have a double advantage over mere precept, speaking not only to the mind, but also to the eye, in an ocular language, singularly emphatic and universally intelligible.
A work of this kind was suggested upwards of twenty years since, and a few preliminary steps in its preparation were at that time taken; but no favorable opportunity has since appeared to bring it into a form proper for publication, till the
assistance of the Rev. William Holmes was procured. The drawings, and the engraving of the cuts, were for the most part executed by the writer of the preface; the work itself is written by Mr. Holmes.
J. W. BARBER.
NEW HAVEN, CON., Dec., 1845.
It is with a degree of diffidence that the writer of the following pages presents them to the public. This arises from the responsibility assumed by every one who attempts to convey divine truth to his fellow-beings about him, either orally or by the press. The method of communicating instruction adopted in this publication, is somewhat different from the usual form, consequently more caution is necessary, lest imperfect or erroneous impressions be given.
Some of the most important subjects that can command the attention of mankind, have passed in review before the writer. The short space allotted to each, would allow only of a few brief observations thereon. In these he has aimed to adhere to the truth, as it is in Jesus. With regard to the propriety of employing pictorial representations for the purpose of conveying instruction, it is presumed that there is but one opinion, as the eye sends impressions home to the soul more readily, more forcibly, and more permanently, than any other of the senses. WM. HOLMES.
NEW HAVEN, Dec., 1845.
But the word of the Lord endureth forever. 1 Pet. i. 25.
and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away. Matt. xxiv. 35.
TRUE AND FALSE PRINCIPLES.
Lo! where amid the arctic regions, rise,
Not so the Rock that rears its ancient head,
THE Iceberg lifts its towering summit to the clouds, sparkling and dazzling, like a group of temples overlaid with silver. Its crystalline magnifi