This self-educator series, is based on the concept of a man being a seeker of the truth. In this way I choose the most interesting books from a range of diverse subjects to give readers the chance to develop breadth of mind. Most of these books took extensive editing to get to a decent quality, as many mistakes and defects existed in the original copies. The covers I designed to invoke the feeling of a classic, old fashioned book, with the centre piece symbolising the 'seeker of the truth' ideal. This is based on another classic book, which I have adapted slightly.
PREFACE
There has been much written upon the asserted identity of the British race with the Israelites of the Ten Tribes, but is has failed to convince many pious Christians, chiefly because the arguments in support of this identity have often been mixed up with speculations which, however interesting, and perhaps important to those who already believe in this identity, are unsupported by sufficient evidence, and liable, therefore, to be seized upon by the sceptical reader as reasons for rejecting the whole argument. The subject has also been sometimes discredited by superficial and illogical conclusions based on imperfect knowledge, and by the wild and fanciful theories of some of its supporters, which have seemed to justify sober-minded enquirers in throwing aside the question as one only fitted for cranks and persons of unbalanced minds. It may be remarked that there are persons in our midst who would do all in their power to throw discredit and contempt upon the subject which, if true and generally accepted, would go far to restore the waning belief of multitudes in the truth of the Bible, and to re-unite the people of a kingdom which it it the object of our enemies to break up and destroy.
But the doubtful statements and theories which tend to discredit the subject are merely accretions which are liable to gather round any great truth, and are in now way essential to the true arguments in its favour. In the following pages the author has therefore excluded all doubtful statements and theories, and has endeavoured to state as briefly as possible those arguments, scriptural and historical, which may be expected to appeal to anyone with an open mind.
Then further I would bid you to note the many words which men have dragged downward with themselves, and made more or less partakers of their own fall. Having once an honourable meaning, they have yet with the deterioration and degeneration of those that used them, or of those about whom they were used, deteriorated and degenerated too. How many, harmless once, have assumed a harmful as their secondary meaning; how many worthy have acquired an unworthy. Thus 'knave' meant once no more than lad (nor does 'knabe' now in German mean more); 'villain' than peasant; a 'boor' was a farmer, a 'varlet' a serving-man, which meaning still survives in 'valet,' the other form of this word; [Footnote: Yet this itself was an immense fall for the word (see Ampère, La Langue Française, p. 219, and Littré, Dict. de la Langue Française, preface, p. xxv.).] a 'menial' was one of the household; a 'paramour' was a lover, an honourable one it might be; a 'leman' in like manner might be a lover, and be used of either sex in a good sense; a 'beldam' was a fair lady, and is used in this sense by Spenser; [Footnote: F. Q. iii. 2. 43.] a 'minion' was a favourite (man in Sylvester is 'God's dearest minion'); a 'pedant' in the Italian from which we borrowed the word, and for a while too with ourselves, was simply a tutor; a 'proser' was one who wrote in prose; an 'adventurer' one who set before himself perilous, but very often noble ventures, what the Germans call a glücksritter; a 'swindler,' in the German from which we got it, one who entered into dangerous mercantile speculations, without implying that this was done with any intention to defraud others. Christ, according to Bishop Hall, was the 'ringleader' of our salvation. 'Time-server' two hundred years ago quite as often designated one in an honourable as in a dishonourable sense 'serving the time.' [Footnote: See in proof Fuller, Holy State, b. iii. c. 19.] 'Conceits' had once nothing conceited in them. An 'officious' man was one prompt in offices of kindness, and not, as now, an uninvited meddler in things that concern him not; something indeed of the older meaning still survives in the diplomatic use of the word.
 'Demure' conveyed no hint, as it does now, of an overdoing of the outward demonstrations of modesty; a 'leer' was once a look with nothing amiss in it (Piers Plowman). 'Daft' was modest or retiring; 'orgies' were religious ceremonies; the Blessed Virgin speaks of herself in an early poem as 'God's wench.' In 'crafty' and 'cunning' no crooked wisdom was implied, but only knowledge and skill; 'craft,' indeed, still retains very often its more honourable use, a man's 'craft' being his skill, and then the trade in which he is skilled. 'Artful' was skilful, and not tricky as now. [Footnote: Not otherwise 'leichtsinnig' in German meant cheerful once; it is frivolous now; while in French a 'rapporteur' is now a bringer back of malicious reports, the malicious having little by little found its way into the word.] Could the Magdalen have ever bequeathed us 'maudlin' in its present contemptuous application, if the tears of penitential sorrow had been held in due honour by the world? 'Tinsel,' the French 'etincelle,' meant once anything that sparkled or glistened; thus, 'cloth of tinsel' would be cloth inwrought with silver and gold; but the sad experience that 'all is not gold that glitters, that much showing fair to the eye is worthless in reality, has caused that by 'tinsel,' literal or figurative, we ever mean now that which has no realities of sterling worth underlying the specious shows which it makes. 'Specious' itself, let me note, meant beautiful at one time, and not, as now, presenting a deceitful appearance of beauty. 'Tawdry,' an epithet applied once to lace or other finery bought at the fair of St. Awdrey or St. Etheldreda, has run through the same course: it at one time conveyed no suggestion of mean finery or shabby splendour, as now it does. 'Voluble' was an epithet which had nothing of slight in it, but meant what 'fluent' means now; 'dapper' was what in German 'tapfer' is; not so much neat and spruce as brave and bold; 'plausible' was worthy of applause; 'pert' is now brisk and lively, but with a very distinct subaudition, which once it had not, of sauciness as well; 'lewd' meant no more than unlearned, as the lay or common people might be supposed to be. [Footnote: Having in mind what 'dirne,' connected with 'dienen,' 'dienst,' commonly means now in German, one almost shrinks from mentioning that it was once a name of honour which could be and was used of the Blessed Virgin Mary (see Grimm, Wörterbuch, s. v.). 'Schalk' in like manner had no evil subaudition in it at the first; nor did it ever obtain such during the time that it survived in English; thus in Sir Gawayne and the Green Knight, the peerless Gawayne is himself on more than one a 'schalk' (424, 1776). The word survives in the last syllable of 'seneschal,' and indeed of 'marshal' as well.] 'To carp' is in Chaucer's language no more than to converse; 'to mouth' in Piers Plowman is simply to speak; 'to garble' was once to sift and pick out the best; it is now to select and put forward as a fair specimen the worst.

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