Some years ago it was my privilege to enjoy the acquaintance of Miss Frances Rolleston, of Keswick, and to carry on a correspondence with her with respect to her work, Mazzaroth: or, the Constellations. She was the first to create an interest in this important subject.
Since then Dr. Seiss, of Philadelphia, has endeavoured to popularize her work on the other side of the Atlantic; and brief references have been made to the subject in such books as Moses and Geology, by Dr. Kinns, and in Primeval Man; but it was felt, for many reasons, that it was desirable to make another effort to set forth, in a more complete form, the witness of the stars to prophetic truth, so necessary in these last days.
To the late Miss Rolleston, however, belongs the honour of collect-ing a mass of information bearing on this subject; but, published as it was, chiefly in the form of notes, unarranged and unindexed, it was suited only for, but was most valuable to, the student. She it was who performed the drudgery of collecting the facts presented by Albumazer, the Arab astronomer to the Caliphs of Grenada, 850 a.d.; and the Tables drawn up by Ulugh Beigh, the Tartar prince and astronomer, about 1450 a.d., who gives the Arabian Astronomy as it had come down from the earliest times.
Modern astronomers have preserved, and still have in common use, the ancient names of over a hundred of the principal stars which have been handed down; but now these names are used merely as a conven-ience, and without any reference to their significance.
This work is an attempt to popularize this ancient information, and to use it in the interests of truth.
For the ancient astronomical facts and the names, with their signifi-cation, I am, from the very nature of the case, indebted, of course, to all who have preserved, collected, and handed them down; but for their interpretation I am alone responsible.
It is for the readers to judge how far my conclusions are borne out by the evidence; and how far the foundation of our hopes of coming glory are strengthened by the prophecies which have been written in the stars of heaven, as well as in the Scriptures of truth.
For the illustrations I am greatly indebted to Jamieson's Celestial At-las, 1820; Flammarion's L'Étoiles; Sir John W. Lubbock's Stars in Six Maps, 1883; and to the late Mr. Edward J. Cooper's Egyptian Scenery, 1820. For the general presentation and arrangement of the Constella-tions I am responsible, while for the [drawings my thanks are due to my friend Miss Amy Manson.
It is the possession of "that blessed hope" of Christ's speedy return from Heaven which will give true interest in the great subject of this book.