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As a christian, the author of the following volumes believes that there is a state of everlasting happiness prepared beyond the grave for those, and those only, who are partakers of pure and undefiled religion, and, as a parent, he will freely confess his supreme solicitude is, that his children, by a patient continuance in well doing, might seek for glory, honour, immortality; and finally possess themselves of eternal life. He is not insensible to the worth of temporal advantages; he is neither cynic nor ascetic; he appreciates the true value of wealth, learning, science, and reputation,which he desires, in such measure as God shall see fit to bestow, both for himself and his children ; he has conquered the world, but does not despise it; he resists its yoke as a master, but values its ministrations as a servant. Still, however, he views the present state of sublunary affairs as a splendid pageant, the fashion of which passeth away, to give place to the glory which shall never be moved: he looketh not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal. It is on this ground that he attaches so much importance to a religious education. To those, if such there should be, who ima
ine that he is too anxious about this matter, and has said too much about it, he has simply to reply, that “ he believes, therefore has he spoken." The man who does not make the religious character of his children the supreme endof all his conduct towards them, may profess to believe as a Christian, but certainly acts as an atheist: besides, if this end be secured, the most likely step is taken for accomplishing every other; as “Godliness is profitable for all things, having the promise of the life that now is, as well as of that which is to come."
With these views, the Author has embodied in the following volumes his own parental wishes, objects, and pursuits. Much that is here written, has been the subject of his personal converse with his children, and should God spare his life, will still continue to be the topics of his instruction.
What is beneficial to his own family, the Author thought might be no less useful to others: and this was another reason which induced him to publish. The multiplication of books of this kind, even if they make small pretensions to classic elegance of composition, is to be looked upon as a benefit, provided they contain sound scriptural sentiments, and an obvious tendency to produce right moral impressions. Books are sometimes read merely because they are new; it is desirable therefore to gratify this appetite for novelty, when at the same time we can strengthen and build up the moral character by a supply of wholesome and nutritious food. Nor is it always necessary that new books should contain new topics, or new modes of illustration, any more than it is necessary that there should be a perpetual change in the kinds of food, in order to attain to bodily strength. Whatever varieties may be introduced by the wisdom that