Imatges de pàgina

pend his solicitude in unremitting efforts to sit his children for worldly eminence; to prepare them to make their way as politicians, as merchants, as followers of lucrative professions; to be skilful seamen, intrepid soldiers, men of learning, of taste, of accomplishments, and what the world is pleased to call ** men of honour:" regardless of the duty of training them up as servants of a God of holiness, and disciples of a crucified Saviour!

A work intended to facilitate the attainment of the most important knowledge will experience, I am confident, your favorable acceptance. I offer it to you with additional satisfaction, as it affords to me an opportunity of conveying to you an assurance that I retain a grateful remembrance of your instructions.

I am,

Dear Sir,
Your obliged and faithful servant,


Nov. ii, 1799.



AMONG persons who are convinced that youth, the spring-time of life, is the season when the seeds which are to occupy and fill the heart are to be sown; and who regard the acquisition of eternal happiness through Jesus Christ as the great object of human existence; it is a common, and, I fear, a just complaint, that in any mode of education sufficient attention is too seldom devoted to religion.

Of late years much has been done, and ably done, to facilitate the communication of religious knowledge to youth. Many excellent elementary works,

having having for their object the explanation of scriptural history, and scriptural doctrines, in a manner at once instructive and engaging to the opening mind of the pupil, have been given to the public: and they have been received with the gratitude which the writers merited. Let me not be suspected of a disposition to detract from the value of those works, the circulation and use of which I wish to see every day more widely extended, when I venture to observe, that an additional treatise on a plan somewhat enlarged has appeared to me to be wanting; a treatise which might fitly intervene between the perusal of books of the class to which I have alluded, and the ample range of reading scarcely to be expected but from the leisure and industry of manhood. The deficiency which I conceived to exist, I have endeavoured in the following pages to supply.

My intention has been to lay before the reader a familiar and compendious view of the Christian religion, and of the principal historical events connected with its introduction and progress, its corruption

and and reformation: including a concise account of the scriptures of the old and new Testaments, and a summary of the evidences of the truth of Christianity, together with some remarks on forms of church-government and religious establishments. Bearing in mind that I have been addressing myself to natives of Great Britain; I have been solicitous to draw the attention of the reader, wherever the subject afforded a fit opportunity, to events or circumstances which have had a particular influence on his own country ; and by rendering him acquainted with the principles on which its religious institutions are established, to guard him betimes from being hastily prejudiced against those institutions by misrepresentations or groundless objections. I have endeavoured, on suitable occasions, to obviate, without entering too deeply into argument, some of those cavils of scepticism and infidelity which a young person may probably hear; and thus to lead him to withhold implicit confidence from others, which he may afterwards have to encounter. Throughout the whole

work it has been my predominant desire to direct


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