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Among the valuable works which are provided for young persoris, of almost every age, between infancy and their entrance upon the world, one of a peculiar, but very important kind, has long appeared to the Author of the following pages to be wanting. Engaged in the education of youth, and having a young family rising up around him, he has long wished, in common, he believes, with many others, for a work which should inculcate religious principles, and lay the foundation of rational piety. Despairing of seeing this accomplished, by those whom he knew to be much better qualified than himself, and repeatedly urged to attempt it, by several of his friends, he at length determined to comply with their solicitations, according to the plan which appeared to him most likely to produce the intended effect. Both the design and the execution he leaves to the judgment of the candid. It has been his great object to make religion inviting; to bring the ordinary and daily conduct of young persons under its influence, and to pravide a variety of moral and pious sentiment, which, by constant recurrence, may be deeply imprinted upon their minds; regulate every part of their behaviour; and prepare them for a continued attention, through life, to the important duties of devotion. In the execution of his purpose, he has studiously avoided all expressions, which might tend to render what was designed for general use ob
noxious to any particular sect of Christians; and endeavoured to comprehend only those grand principles, in which all are equally agreed, and which are the foundation of all excellence of character, of present comfort, and of future eternal happiness. With this view, he has omitted the common doxologies at the close of the prayers, taking care that sufficient space should be left in the printing, for the addition of such as individuals may deem most proper, or the alteration of what is here given. They who know any thing of the nature of such kind of composition, as prevails in this little work, and the difficulty of compressing momentous truths into so small, a compass, will judge with candour, and excuse the defects that may and will appear.
With regard to the age at which this book may be most properly put into the hands of young persons, nothing certain can be determined by the Author ; that must be left to the discretion of parents or instructers. For a very early period of youth, it is evidently not designed ; the faculties must have reached some degree of improvement, and the progress of education must have been, in some good measure, advanced, before the purposes for which it was composed can be secured.
The subjects of the reflections were selected, as being of peculiar importance to young persons ; many still remain unnoticed. These, it is hoped, will
soon be added, together with prayers for another week. In its present state it is sent into the world, with the Author's earnest prayer, that it may contribute to the great objects which he has had in view ;-the benefit of the rising generation, and the furtherance of practical Christianity.
YORK, April 6, 1801,
It is with no small degree of satisfaction that the Author is at length enabled to present to his young friends an edition of his little work, enlarged by those Reflections and Prayers, which, five and twenty years ago, he promised to their parents, This long delay has been the unavoidable result of circumstances which he did not foresee, and which he could not control. That he should have disappointed the expectations of those, for whose benefit this work was originally composed and published, he very sincerely and deeply regrets. He feels confident, however, that after what he has now stated, he shall obtain their forgiveness ; especially, as their disappointment has proved of great advantage to their children, and those other young persons in whose welfare they may be interested, by being the immediate occasion of the appearance of another set of “ Devotional Exercises
by a Lady”; whose modesty in withholding her name from the public, may, for a time, deprive her of the reputation to which she is so justly entitled ; but whose virtuous labours cannot fail to be rewarded by the heart-felt delight of conscious usefulness, and the blessings which they will gratefully invoke upon her, in whose hearts she may happily enkindle or cherish that sacred flame of devotion, which appears to burn so brightly and so steadily in her own.
YORK, April 6, 1826.