« PreviousContinue »
FIRST AMERICAN EDITION:
The Publishers of the first American edition of this valuable work of the Rev. D. Blair, and which is taken from the eighth and last British edition, feel gratified in believing that they are rendering to the American public a service of no inconsiderable value. From the prosperous state of science in the United States, its growing energies and the increasing number of seminaries for the education of youth, both of a private and public nature, it is ob
vious, that nothing can be more important and useful than an able and well-digested system, em
bracing in a clear, correct, and comprehensive form the first rudiments of the various sciences. This desirable object appears to be at length fully effected in the work now offered to the public. The number of editions through which it has passed in England, is a proof of the estimation in which it is there held: and the Publishers inust be allowed to state, that in this edition, not only the errors incident to all works of so comprehensive a nature have been diligently corrected, but that several gentlemen of science, impressed with the utility of the work, have bestowed much pains not only in the corrections, but in contributing additional matter and entirely newmodelling many of the heads and sections, and thus rendering the whole work decidedly superior to all the foreign editions.
THE author of this work has been many years anxious to achieve his present undertaking. His experience, reason, and feelings, prove to him, that, in the progress of education, young persons ought to be enabled to acquire correct general views on all subjects, which may serve as food for the mind in after-life, and as the bases of further studies in such branches of knowledge, as, at a future period, may gratify their tastes, or accord with their interests.
Early education cannot make adepts in any branch of science; at least, without sacrificing every other subject to one: it ought, therefore, to embrace the elements of general knowledge, as the true means of enlarging and exercising the understanding, and qualifying it to engage with advantage in any peculiar pursuit.
To fill the storehouse of the memory, is the rational business of education; and, at a season of life, when the powers of reason have not acquired a useful degree of action. Nor will such general instruction interfere with particular studies, if the tutor be provided
with a Text-Book, embracing the foundations of human learning: such, it is presunied, will be found in the following pages.
When the author compiled his ClassBook, he was actuated by similar principles; and he believes it is generally felt, that great advantages have accrued to young persons, from the perusal of that work. Every tutor must be sensible, however, that the Class-Book, as a means of enlarging the sphere of knowledge, is rather to be considered as a commentary, than as a key to the temple of Science itself. The CLASS-BOOK has its superior uses; but, through its medium, the building can only be viewed at a distance; the object, ther, in the present work, is to lead the young student up the steps of the portico, open the doors to him, and usher him into that superstructure, which raises man above his fellows, and places him . in contact with the good and the illustrious of his species!
Without interfering with particular branches of education, all the parts of this work may
be rendered familiar within two years: one paragraph may be committed to memory every day. When this task has been finished, what an accession of varied knowledge will have fallen to the lot of the pupil ! How stored, will be his mind, with interesting ideas for contemplation and conversa
tion! and how comparatively blank must be the minds of others, who have not enjoyed the same advantages !—Yet, particular studies, at the same time, need not be neglected! This book may, indeed, be collateral in labour; although it will prove primary in effect !-But the author may be said to be sanguine; he, therefore, forbears to say all that his hopes prompt him to; and leaves his book to speak for itself, and prove its worth, by its actual effects on the rising generation.