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TO THE REVEREND

BENJAMIN HEATH, D.D.

FELLOW OF ETON COLLEGE, ETC.

DEAR SIR,

IF I venture to affert that more than customary attention might advantageously be allotted to the inculcation of Christian principles and knowledge on the youth of this country; let me not be thought desirous of loading their instructors with harsh and indiscrimia natę censure.

My own personal experience might lead me to a more equitable conclusion. Nearly fix of the earlier years

of

my education were consigned to the care of a clergyman (a); whose life exemplified the religious lessons, which he endeavoured to impress on his pupils. The years intervening between private tuition and the university were pasied at the very eminent public

(a) The Rev. John Pickering, of Mackworth near Derby.
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school,

(iv)

school (b), over which you then presided. I recollect with pleasure that the head class, which was under your immediate superintendence, was regularly occupied during one morning in the common days of the week in the study of some book of a religious nature. Nor was this the only effort pointed to the same end in the conduct of the school. But I fear that many young persons, if summoned from feminaries of repute to a public examination, would give a better account of the falled wanderings of Ulysses and Æneas than of the heaven-directed journeyings of Moses and Saint Paul ; and would display a more intimate acquaintance with the fortunes of Athens and Rome, than with the historical progress of a religion designed to be their supreme comfort and guide through life, and the means of acquiring eternal happiness.

The principal fault, when faults exist, is not in the preceptor, but in the parent. The former is to water the plant; the latter must fow the feed. But how often does the parent limit his concern for the best interests of his children to the decorum of mere morals: without impreffing on their minds, perhaps without

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(v)

feeling on his own, a firm and habitual conviction, that there is no stable foundation on which morality can rest except a Christian fear and love of God! How often does the parent expend his solicitude in unremitting efforts to fit 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 pleafed 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 fatisfaction, 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 fithful servant,

THOMAS GISBORNE.

YOXALL LODGE near LICHFIELD,

Nov. II, 1799:

PRE FACE.

AMONG persons who are convinced that youth, the spring-time of life, is the season when the feeds 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

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

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excel.

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