The Two Babylons - PREFACE TO THE THIRD EDITION.
In giving the Third Edition of this work to the public, I have little else to do than to express my acknowledgments to those to whom I am under obligations, for enabling me thus far to bring it to a successful issue.
To Mr. Murray, of Albemarle Street, London; Mr. Vaux, of the British Museum; and Messrs. Black and Messrs. Chambers, Edinburgh, I am specially indebted for permission to copy woodcuts belonging to them. Individual woodcuts, from other sources, are acknowledged in the body of the work. To Mr. John Adam, the artist, who has executed the whole of the woodcuts, with a few exceptions, I have to express my obligations for the spirit and artistic skill displayed in their execution; and I do so with the more pleasure, that Mr. Adam is a native of Arbroath, and the son of a worthy elder of my own.
I have also acknowledgments of another kind to make. Considering the character of this work--a work that, from its very nature, required wide, and, at the same time, minute research, and the consultation of works of a very recondite character; and, taking also into view not only the very limited extent of my own library, but the distance of my abode from any of the great libraries of the land, where rare and expensive works may be consulted, the due preparation of such a work was attended with many difficulties. The kindness of friends, however, has tended wonderfully to remove these difficulties. From all quarters I have met with the most disinterested aid, of which I retain a grateful and pleasing remembrance. To enumerate the different sources whence help has come to me, in the prosecution of my task, would be impossible. There are three individuals, however, who stand out from the rest whom I cannot pass over without notice. Each of them has co-operated (and all spontaneously), though in different ways, in enabling me thus far to accomplish my task, and their aid has been of the most essential importance.
To Mrs. Barkworth, of Tranby Hall, Yorkshire (whose highly cultivated mind, enlightened zeal for Protestant truth, and unwearied beneficence need no testimony of mine), I am signally indebted, and it gives me pleasure to acknowledge it.
I have also to acknowledge my deep and peculiar obligations to one who chooses to be unknown, * who, entirely on public grounds, has taken a very lively interest in this work. He has spared neither expense nor pains, that, every incidental error being removed, the argument might be presented to the public in the most perfect possible form. For this purpose he has devoted a large portion of his time, during the last three years, to the examination of every quotation contained in the last edition, going in every case where it was at all possible, to the fountain-head of authority. His co-operation with me in the revisal of the work has been of the greatest advantage. His acute and logical mind, quick in detecting a flaw, his determination to be satisfied with nothing that had not sufficient evidence to rest upon, and yet his willing surrender to the force of truth whenever that evidence was presented, have made him a most valuable coadjutor. "As iron sharpeneth iron," says Solomon, "so doth a man sharpen the countenance of his friend." I have sensibly found it so. His correspondence, by this stimulus, has led to the accumulation of an immense mass of new evidence, here presented to the reader, which, but for his suggestions, and objections too, might never have been discovered. In the prosecution of his investigation he has examined no fewer than 240 * out of the 270 works contained in the accompanying list of "Editions," many of them of large extent, all of which are in his own possession, and not in a few of which he has procured for the purpose of verification. His object and mine has been, that the argument might be fairly stated, and that error might, as far as possible, be avoided. How far this object has been attained, the references and list of "Editions" will enable each reader
competent to the task, to judge for himself. For myself, however, I cannot but express my high sense of the incalculable value of the service which the extraordinary labours of my kind and disinterested friend have rendered to the cause of universal Protestantism.
But while making mention of my obligations to the living, I may not forget what I owe to the dead. To him whose name stands on the front of this work, I am, in some respects, pre-eminently indebted, and I cannot send forth this edition without a tribute of affection to his memory. It is not for me to speak of his wit, and the brilliancy of his conversational powers, that captivated all who knew him; of the generous unselfishness of his nature, that made him a favourite with every one that came in contact with him; or of the deep interest that he took in the efforts at present being made for improving the dwellings of the working-classes, and especially of those of his own estate, as well as in their moral and religious improvement. But I should be liable to the charge of ingratitude if I contented myself, in the circumstances, with the mere formal dedication, which, though appropriate enough while he was alive, is now no more so when he is gone.
The time and the circumstances in which his active friendship was extended to me, made it especially welcome. His keen eye saw at a glance, as soon as the subject of this work came under his attention, the importance of it; and from that time forward, though the work was then in its most rudimentary form, he took the deepest interest in it. He did not wait till the leading organs of popular opinion, or the great dispensers of fame, should award their applause; but, prompted by his own kindly feeling, he spontaneously opened up a correspondence with me, to encourage and aid me in the path of discovery on which I had entered.
His own studies qualified him to appreciate the subject and pronounce upon it. For many years he had deeply studied the Druidical system, which, with the haze and mystery around it, and with its many points of contact with the patriarchal religion, had a strange and peculiar fascination for him. For the elucidation of this subject, he had acquired most valuable works; and what he possessed he was most ready to communicate. In the prosecution of my inquires, I had met with what to me seemed insuperable difficulties. He had only to know of this to set himself to remove them; and the aid derived from him was at once precious and opportune; for through his acquaintance with Druidism, and the works received from him, difficulties disappeared, and a flood of light irradiated the whole subject, If, therefore, the reader shall find the early history of superstition, not only in our native land, but in the world at large, set in a new and instructive light in these pages, he must know that he is essentially indebted for that to Lord John Scott. In one, who was an entire stranger, being thus prompted to render efficient assistance to me at such a time, I could not but thankfully recognise the hand of a gracious Providence; and when I reflect on the generous, and humble, and disinterested
kindness with which the four years' correspondence between us was conducted on his part,--a correspondence in which he always treated me with as much confidence as if I had been his friend and brother,--I cannot but feel warm and tender emotions, mingling with the thoughts that spring up in my bosom. Friendship such as his was no ordinary friendship. His memory, therefore, must be ever dear to me; the remembrance of his kindness ever fragrant.
Unexpected was the stroke--now, alas! near three years ago--by which our correspondence was brought to an end; but painful though that stroke was, and solemnising, there was no gloom attending it. The "hope full of immortality" cheered his dying bed. For years back he had found the emptiness of the world, and had begun to seek the better part. His religion was no sentimental religion; his fear of God was not taught by the commandment of men. His faith was drawn directly from the inspired fountain of Divine truth. From the time that the claims of God to the homage of his heart had laid hold on him, the Word of God became his grand study, and few men have I ever known who held with a more firm and tenacious grasp the great truth that the Word of God, and that Word alone, is the light and rule for the guidance of Christians; and that every departure from that Word, alike on the part of Churches and individuals, implies, as he himself expressed it, "going off the rails," and consequently danger of the highest kind. As his religion was Scriptural, so it was spiritual. In one of his earliest letters to me, he avowed that the bond of "spiritual religion" was that by which he felt himself specially bound to those whose character and spirit showed them to be the true sheep of Christ's pasture; and in accepting the dedication of my work, he particularly stated, that the interest that he took in it was not as a mere matter of literary curiosity, but as being "fitted to teach great truths, which the world is not very willing to learn." This, in the connection in which he wrote, evidently had special reference to the great doctrine of "regeneration." His mind was deeply penetrated with a sense of the majesty of God, and the "awfulness" of our relations to Him, in consequence of the sin that has entered the world, and has infected the whole human race, and therefore he vividly realised the indispensably necessity of Mediation and Atonement, to give hope to sinful man in prospect of the grand account.
The origin of that earnestness and attachment to spiritual religion which he manifested in his last years, was, as I was assured by a relative now also gone to his reward, the perusal of the tract entitled "Sin no Trifle." Deep was the impression that tract had made. He read it, and re-red it, and continually carried it about with him. till it was entirely worn away. Under the impressions springing from such views of sin, he said to an intimate friend, when in the enjoyment of health and vigour, "It is easy to die the death of a gentleman, but that will not do." His death was not the death of a mere gentleman. It was evidently the death of a Christian.
The circumstances in which he was removed were fitted to be peculiarly affecting to me. In reply to a letter--the last which I received from him--in which he expressed deep interest in the spread of vital religion, I was led, in pursuance of the theme to which he himself had specially referred, to dwell more than ever before on the necessity not merely of having hope towards God, but having the question of personal acceptance decisively settled, and the consequent habitual possession of the "joy of salvation," and as one special reason for this, referred to the fact, that all would be needed in a dying hour. "And who can tell," I added, "how suddenly those who are surrounded with all the comforts of life may be removed from the midst of them?" In illustration of this, I referred to the affecting case of one whom I had known well, just a short while before, lost along with his family in the Royal Charter. Having made a large fortune in Australia, he was returning home, and when on the point of setting foot on his native shores, with the prospect of spending his days in ease and affluence, suddenly father and mother, son and daughter, were all engulfed in a watery grave. My letter concluded with these words: "In view of such a solemnising event, well may we say, What is man? But oh, man is great, if he walks with God, and the divine words are fulfilled in his experience, 'God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.' That this may be more and more the experience of your Lordship, is my earnest desire." When I wrote this I had not the least suspicion that I was writing to a dying man. But so it proved to be. Only a few days after he received this, he was smitten with his death-sickness. From his dying bed he sent me a kindly memorial of his affectionate remembrance, and in his painful illness he manifested the supporting power of faith, when faith has respect to the truth as it is in Jesus, and appropriates Him as a personal and Almighty Saviour. 2bab003.htm