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PREFACE TO THE FOURTH EDITION.
The reverence of races for their scriptures is sometimes ascribed to superstition. But the increasing interest of scholars in them attests deeper sources of that reverence. Though these writings represent crude pre-scientific ages, it is not without reason that a higher value is generally set on them than upon the literatures of more enlightened times. The fact that they have survived so long is a confirmation of their excellence. The fashion of the world passes away, and that which proceeds from the surface perishes with the surface. That which comes from the depth reaches proportionately far. Deep answers unto deep. It is to be especially considered that the ancient scriptures originated with, and were for a long time preserved through, ages which had not the art of printing, when the toil of repeated transcriptions was necessarily a means of filtration. We are quite able in the present day to estimate the disadvantages of our facilities for the multiplication of books, along with their preponderant advantages, and must look to a very distant time for such a purification from that which is ephemeral as shall result in the European Vedas. No doubt in the