Author:Spurgeon, Charles H.
Publisher:Delmarva Publications, Inc.
The salt of proverbs is of great service if discreetly used in sermons and addresses; and I have hope that these SALT-CELLARS of mine may be resorted to by teachers and speakers, and that they may find them helpful. There are many proverb books, but none exactly like these. I have not followed any one of the other collections, although, of necessity, the most of the quaint sayings are the same as will be found in them. Some of my sentences are quite new, and more are put into a fresh form. The careful omission of all that are questionable as to purity has been my aim; but should any one of them, unknown to me, have another meaning than I have seen in it, I cannot help it, and must trust the reader to accept the best and purest sense which it bears; for that is what it meant to me. It is a pity that the sale of a proverb should ever be unsavory; but, beyond doubt, in several of the best collections, there are very questionable ones, which ought to be forgotten. It is better to select than indiscriminately to collect. An old saying which is not clean ought not to be preserved because of its age; but it should, for that reason, be the more readily dropped, since it must have done harm enough already, and the sooner the old, rottenness is buried the better. My homely notes are made up, as a rule, of other proverbial expressions. They are intended to give hints as to how the proverbs may be used by those who are willing to flavor their speech with them. I may not, in every case, have hit upon the first meaning of the maxims: possibly, in some instances, the sense which I have put upon them may not be the general one; but the meanings given are such as they may bear without a twist, and such as commended themselves to me for general usefulness. The antiquary has not been the guide in this case; but the moralist and the Christian. From what sources I have gleaned these proverbs it is impossible for me to tell. They have been jotted down as they were met with. Having become common property, it is not easy to find out their original proprietors. If I knew where I found a pithy sentence, I would acknowledge the source most freely; but the gleanings of years, in innumerable fields, cannot now be traced to this literary estate or to that. In the mass, I confess that almost everything in these books is borrowed — from cyclopedia’s of proverbs, “garlands,” almanacs, books, newspapers, magazines — from anywhere and everywhere. A few proverbs I may myself have made, though even this is difficult; but, from the necessity of the case, sentences which have become proverbs are things to be quoted, and not to be invented.