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DEVOUT THOUGHTS

BY DEEP THINKERS;

SELECTED AND ARRANGED PROM

"THE PORTFOLIO” OF "THE RECORD,

BY SUSAN COALBANK,

OLD DALBY, LEICESTERSHIRE.

WITH A PREFACE

BY THE REV. J. C. RYLE,

VICAR OP STRADBROKE, SUFFOLK,

VOL. I.

LONDON:
JAMES NISBET AND CO., 21 BERNERS STREET.

1867.

141. j. 13:

PREFACE

BY THE REV. J. C. RYLE.

THE Work now in the reader's hands consists of a selection of extracts from the works of approved Divines, from the earliest ages of Christianity down to the present day.

These extracts originally appeared in a corner of “The Record” newspaper, called “The Portfolio.” They are now presented to the public in a collected and methodized form; and the compiler of them has done me the honour to ask me to say something by way of recommendation of the whole work.

The intrinsic merit of the collection is so great, that in my humble judgment it needs no recommendation of mine. Here you have in a portable form the best thoughts of the best men on almost every leading point in Christian theology. Here you may ascertain at a glance, by reference to a well-arranged index, what Fathers, Reformers, Puritans, and the best modern Divines, have written about the great foundation truths of our common faith. You may possess, without trouble, the most original and striking ideas of many great minds, without the weariness of wading through pages of irrelevant matter in order to reach dry land. If a work like this does not meet with acceptance, it will tell badly for the taste of readers in the nineteenth century.

Collections of extracts like the present one have always been highly valued by the wisest men. Few people have time to read through large theological books. Fewer still have the opportunity of getting at them. Our modern libraries are admirable and useful institutions no doubt, but, with rare exceptions, they are sadly destitute of divinity. The man who possesses a really good selection of theological extracts, feeds on the marrow of many writers at once.

Our most eminent Reformers and leading Divines were exceedingly fond of making collections of extracts. Such collections were their armouries and magazines. No one can study their writings attentively without discovering that they all had their commonplace books by their side when they sat down to read, and made abundant use of them when they sat down to write. There were giants in those days indeed! We shall never see their like again. A flood of cheap and sensational literature is overspreading the world. The day of folios and quartos is past and gone for ever.

In a day like the present any effort to familiarize

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