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II. STYLE AND LANGUAGE.
I have made no effort to simplify the language. It is not necessary to do this even for children. They will understand the language of maturity easily enough, if the logic and rhetoric are theirs. I have attempted, therefore, to present each subject in such an aspect, and to illustrate it in such a way, as is adapted to the young mind, using, however, such language as has suggested itself spontaneously. It is a great but a very common error to suppose, that merely to simplify diction is the way to gain access to the young. Hence a sermon for children is seldom any thing more than a sermon for men, with easy words substituted for the hard ones. This goes on the supposition that the great difficulty is to make children understand religious truth. Whereas, there is no difficulty at all in this. The difficulty is in interesting them in it. They will understand readily enough, if they are interested in the form and manner in which the subject comes before them.
These principles will explain the great number of narratives, and dialogues, and statements of facts, which are introduced to give vividness to the conceptions of my readers. I am not certain but that some individuals of mature minds may object to the number of imaginary incidents which I have thus introduced. If the principles stated above are not considered satisfactory, I must appeal to authority. This book is
not more full of parables than were the discourses of Jesus Christ. I shelter myself behind his example.
III. REQUEST TO PARENTS.
Every parent knows that there is great danger that children will run over the pages of a book where narrative and dialogue are introduced to illustrate religious truth, and, with peculiar dexterity, will find out and read all that has the interest of a story, and skip the rest. There will, perhaps, in this volume, be less danger of this, from the fact that the whole is so intimately interwoven as to render it in most cases difficult to separate. A mother can, however, effectually prevent it if she pleases. If her children are young, and she fears this danger, let her read the book to them, or let her assign a distinct and a limited portion for each Sabbath, and after it is read, let her examine them in it, asking questions in regard to the plan and design of the chapter,-the circumstances of each narrative, and especially the purpose for which it is introduced. This, however, must be done, not in the suspicious and jealous manner of hearing a lesson which you fear has not been learned, but with the winning tone of kindness and confidence.
IV. THEOLOGY OF THE WORK.
As to the theology of the work, it takes everywhere
for granted that salvation is to be obtained through repentance for past sin, and trust for forgiveness in the atonement of Jesus Christ. It is not, however, a work on theology. It is designed to enforce the practice, not to discuss the theory, of religion,-to explain and illustrate Christian duty, not Christian truth; but it exhibits this duty as based on those great principles in which all denominations of evangelical Christians concur.
V. OTHER BOOKS OF THE KIND.
There are already several most interesting and useful books before the public, whose object is the same with this, to give Christian instruction to the young. This work appears not as their rival, but as their companion. Most young Christians have, in the course of half a dozen years, time to read a great many pages, and as each writer discusses different topics, or presents them in new aspects and relations, it is well that this class of books should be multiplied. If twenty different individuals in various parts of our country, whom Providence has placed in such circumstances as to interest them, particularly in the young, would write for them, the books would all be read, if they were properly written, and would all do good. They would be different, the independent reflection
if they were the results of
and observation of the authors, and each would co-operate with and assist the other.
Almost a Christian. Louisa's case a common one. Neglect-