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Convinced that religious obligation is, above every thing else, indispensably necessary in the earlier as well as in the later years of life, the author has been induced to commit this work to the press, with the hope that his own efforts in behalf of the rising generation may not be entirely useless. He is the more encouraged in this hope, by knowing that his past labours in the same cause have been successful beyond his largest expectation: and for this he offers his grateful acknowledgments to the Giver of all good
Without any attempt at correct systematic arrangement, an endeavour has here been made to lead the mind into a train of thought upon subjects most connected with the best interests of man: and, however imperfectly the sketches themselves may have been executed, every candid reader will at least allow the high importance of the subjects. What can, what ought to interest us more than topics such as the following ? “ The Existence of God” is a first principle, which, though it is believed, we ought to see by what evidence and argument it is supported. “The Perfections of God, displayed in the works of Creation,” present a wide field for intellectual survey and investigation, and will abundantly repay a diligent and laborious research. “ The Anatomical Structure of Man," is what every individual should learn, who is situated within the reach of adequate means, and has leisure to avail himself of such studies. “ The Human Soul,” being the most dignified and important part of man, should, in its nature, powers, and moral condition, be not only understood, but its welfare sincerely regarded, and pursued with the most vigorous attention and utmost solicitude. “ Divine Providence,” is so identified with nations, countries, cities, villages, families, and persons, that to be ignorant of its reality, extent, and operations, would produce a degrading and injurious effect, directly tending to lessen our comforts and encouragements during the eventful journey of life. " The Original and Fallen State of Man," leads to a contemplation of his moral excellence while innocent, and enables him to account for his present degradation and misery; without the knowledge of which he would be an enigma to himself. “ The Propitiatory Sacrifice of Christ,” considered as the only foundation for human salvation, animates our hope, and excites to vigorous exertions. « The Love of God to Fallen Man,” exhibits the Divine character in a true and amiable light; and his infinite benevolence, thus manifested, serves to produce in us correspondent feelings :-“ We love him because he first loved us." “ The Resurrection of Jesus Christ from the Dead,” evinces the reality and efficacy of his atonement, shows also the conquest he has gained over death and the grave, as well as establishes the truth of Christianity upon a basis which the combined attempts of infidels cannot shake. “Faith connected with Salvation," demonstrates that the means and the end are inseparably connected, and that we must exercise the former in order to secure and enjoy the latter. “Unbelief, and its Consequences,” give us to see, that notwithstanding the publica. tion of the whole system of redemption, yet we may so far abuse our moral liberty, as not only to fall short of obtaining salvation, but be punished with everlasting
destruction for our wilful unbelief and persevering oba duracy. And, in the “Reasons why Unbelievers are punished," the mind is led to perceive, that this is a consequence which can be justified on the most equita, ble principles, that man can present no plea for an exemption or palliation, and that he must resolve the whole punishment into his own voluntary choice, habitual disobedience, and final impenitence. These being topics of the highest import, and leading to the formation of character, they should be conscientiously. attended to in early life. But beside these subjects, others will be found incidentally noticed.
It is but justice to observe, that a considerable part of the chapter on the “ Anatomical Structure of Man," is the production of a medical gentleman of considerable celebrity in his profession, who presented it to the author, and which greatly increases the value of this publication.
“ Germs of Thought,” is a title given to this volume, in consequence of the brevity observed, and which at the same time is considered as better adapted to juvenile capacity and taste, than long and laboured descriptions. It is hoped that these “ Germs,” under the cheering light and animating rays of the Sun of Righteousness, will be gradually unfolded, and exhibit a moral assemblage of fragrance, beauty, and faithful.
The public mind, in the present day, is too well informed to require much to be said here respecting the necessity of laying that foundation of mental culture in youth, without which man, arrived at maturity, will be greatly lost both to himself and to the world around him. The alarming progress of infidelity has too clearly shown that RELIGION, in the true sense of the word,
comprehending its relations both to God and man, 18 the only certain bond of society; and daily experience tells us, it is the only tie of domestic comfort—the only assurance of individual happiness. With an impression of its importance far deeper on his own mind than he can find words to express, the author commits his work to the blessing of God, and the contents of his book to the careful consideration of the indulgent reader.