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ments and anecdotes; and with well-authenticated instances of virtue and piety, adapted to the feelings, and the circumstances, of the persons for whose use it is designed. Select and exemplary historical and biographical relations, are, no doubt, far more instructive, and impressive, than the most ingenious fictions; and they are highly gratifying to the love of truth, that is inherent in the human mind. The reflection that “ What man has done, man may do," naturally occurs, on the perusal of them; and is a strong encouragement to emulation.
The compiler earnestly hopes that it will prove so, with respect to the readers of this little book : and that they will not only learn their duty, but practise it; not only admire good actions and persons, but imitate them, as far as circumstances will allow, It will, doubtless, be very satisfactory to young persons, to be informed that all the anecdotes and histories contained in this work, except a few pieces styled fables, are strictly true. The descriptive pieces can scarcely be called fictitious, because they represent the sentiments and qualities, that usually form the different characters to which they are attributed.
The sentences, both in prose and verse, and the section entitled Wise Sayings, have been selected with particular care, in order that they may serve, not only as exercises in reading; but may also be very
useful to be transcribed, for improvement in writing, orthography, and the proper application and arrangement of words. And thus, many prudential maxims, and moral and religious sentiments, of high importance, may be easily and effectually impressed on the young mind, whilst it is acquiring the elements of learning,
The compiler hopes that the poetical selections contained in this volume, will be found simple and appropriate: and that they will afford young persons many pleasing little pieces to be committed to memory; which, if occasionally repeated in a proper manner, may excite and strengthen good resolutions in their minds, and contribute to their comfort and support, amidst the various sorrows, trials, and temptations, that await them in the world. No extracts are given from Watts's Divine and Moral songs; the compiler presuming that the contents of that cheap and excellent little book, are already familiar to the readers of this work.
For the satisfaction of the critical reader, the names of the authors from whom the extracts are made, both in prose
and verse, are given, in the table of contents, wherever it could conveniently be done. In justice to those authors, it must, however, be observed that, in many instances, various alterations, chiefly verbal, have been made in their compositions ; not with a view of improving them in a literary point of view, but of rendering them more simple in expression, more intelligible to young and uncultivated minds, and more strictly consistent with the nature and design of the work. The remainder of the pieces are either original; or taken from unknown authors; or selected from so many different works, that a reference to each, would, in most cases, be very difficult, and it does not seem, on any account, necessary. It may not, however, be improper to add, that the works not mentioned in the table of contents, to which the compiler is chiefly indebted, are, Mrs. Trimmer's Works, Tracts dispersed by the Society for promoting Christian Knowledge, and Gisborne's Inquiry into the Duties of Men,
Though this book is particularly designed, as the title
young persons in humble life, yet the compiler trusts that the perusal of it, may not be unpleasing, or unedifying, to young persons in higher life, who have considerable leisure for reading. It may, without hurting their morals, enlarge their knowledge of human affairs. It may impress on their minds, sentiments of virtue and piety, which are suitable for Christians in every condition of life. By showing them many instances of exemplary goodness, exhibited by persons under very trying and discouraging circumstances, it may incite them to emulation; and to consider whether they have made the return of praise and love to the great Dispenser of all things, which the manifold favours they have received, require from them, It may excite in their minds, respect for their poorer brethren ; and an earnest wish, if not a firm resolution, to serve and befriend them, especially, (in that best of ways,) by setting them an example of steady application to business, of diligent and reverent attendance on divine worship, and of strict attention to the laws of our country, and to the precepts of our holy religion. And it may excite a fervent desire, that the rich may no longer despise the poor, nor the poor envy the rich : but that all may live together in love and charity, striving to promote each other's happiness, comfort, and credit; and the glory of HIM, " who maketh poor, and maketh rich."
The book is not written, or published, to promote the views of any sect, or party. It is designed for the main body of young people in this country. It is meant, in an especial manner, to recommend industry and frugality; honesty, sobriety, and contentment; fidelity in service; the religious observance of the sabbath ; and the study of the Holy Seriptures, as the great Rule of Life, The compiler trusts that in the whole work, though collected from so many different sources, there is not any sentiment, or, expression, that is, in the slightest degree, inconsistent with the tenour of our holy religion; or that can give offence to any judicious and liberal-minded persons, who wish well to religion, and to their country,
If this little book should become a favourite in the farm-house, and in the cottage : if masters and mistresses should present it to their servants and apprentices; if tender parents, and other friends of youth, should be pleased to see it in their hands, especially on their first setting out in life : if it should be read, with interest and edification, by the elder pupils, in our schools of various denominations; and thankfully received by them as a parting gift, on their leaving school : if it should be found worthy of the approbation and patronage of those benevolent and enlightened persons, who, with so much reputation, and, no doubt, heart-felt satisfaction, to themselves, and so much advantage to the community, superintend many public institutions; and are, at the same time, equally distinguished by their private exertions to alleviate human sufferings, and to advance the interests of virtue and piety the author will rejoice in the thought of not having laboured in vain; of having, in some degree, promoted the cause of Righteousness on earth ; and will have great reason for thankfulness to that gracious Being, “from whom all holy desires, all good counsels, and all just works, do proceed."