BLTC Press Titles

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Further Adventures of an Irish R. M.

Edith Somerville and Martin Ross

The Bhagavad Gita


Knowledge of Higher Worlds and its Attainment

Rudolf Steiner

The Picture of Dorian Gray

Oscar Wilde

Gold-foil, hammered from popular proverbs

by Josiah Gilbert Holland



THE grass that grows upon the lawn elects and drinks from the juices of the earth the elements that compose its structure ; but if the lawn be cropped year after year, and have no return of the materials removed, it will cease to thrive. A wise husbandry will spread upon its surface the results of the life that has been taken away, and these will furnish its most healthful nourishment. So the vital truths relating to the common life of man, are elected and drawn from soils containing innumerable ingredients that may not be assimilated. Many of these ingredients, good and bad, are furnished by the schools and by the professional mind, and it may legitimately be the work of a layman to take the results of the life that has been lived—the truths that have been verified and vitalized by human experience—and give them


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again to the soil that has produced them. With the records of popular experience in my hand, as they are embodied in popular proverbs, I aim to do this work in this book.

THE AUTHOR. Springfield, Mass., 1859.


WHEN the author wrote this book he was a member of the editorial staff of a daily newspaper. In this newspaper these brief essays appeared, one by one, until they grew to the measure of a volume. I suppose that a consideration of the necessities of the vehicle which first bore them to the public had much to do with determining their scope and length. Brief essays upon popular topics, relating to morals and society, were deemed desirable on one day of the week, and especially desirable for the weekly edition ; and thus a whole series of books of this character was produced, the " Letters to the Young " growing out of the same policy.

Restriction in the matter of space, which would seem to militate against the competent treatment of important topics, has proved to be an element in the popularity of this volume. It has compelled condensation and permitted variety to' such an extent that readers have been able to take it up in the spare minutes, or half hours, of busy lives, and easily absorb an essay at a sitting. So it has become a kind of daily companion for a multitude of earnest people, to whom, and to those who are like them, this new edition is heartily dedicated.

New York, 1881.




" Cold broth hot again, that loved I never ;
Old love renewed again, that loved I ever.''

" Get thy spindle and thy distaff ready, and God will send thec flax."

FOR the general public, I have written a preface, that the aims and character of my book may be comprehended at a glance, as it is lifted from the shelf of the bookseller ; but to those who read the book, I have something more that I wish to say by way of introduction.

It is not for the brilliant brace of initial sermons that we still admire the man whom we love to call " our minister." The old love must be renewed again, from Sabbath to Sabbath, from month to month, and from year to year, by new exhibitions of his power and new demonstrations of his faculty to feed the motives of a large and luxuriant life within our souls. If he fail in this—if his power flinch through laziness, or flag through languor—and he resort to the too common process of heating again the old broth, his productions will grow insipid, and our hungering natures will turn uneasily to other sources for refreshment. It is not for the fresh cheek, the full lip, the fair forehead, the parted sweeps of sunny hair, and the girlish charm of form and features, that we love the wives who have walked hand in hand with us for years, but for new graces, opening each morning like flowers in the parterre, their predecessors having accomplished their beautiful mission and gone to seed. Old love renewed again, through new motives to love, is certainly a thing lovely in itself, and desirable by all whose ambition and happiness it is to sit supreme in a single heart, or to hold an honorable place in the affections of the people.

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