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A FAMILIAR ILLUSTRATION
BY JACOB ABBOTT.
PUBLISHED BY THE
AMERICAN TRACT SOCIETY
NO. 150 NASSAU-STREET, NEW-YORK.
D. Fanshaw, Printer.
Entered, according to Act of Congress, in the year 1832, by PIERCE & PARKER, in the Clerk's Office of the Dictrict Court of Massachusetts.
BV 4531 •A34 1832
1. OBJECT OF THE BOOK.
THIS book is intended to explain and illustrate, in a simple manner, the principles of Christian duty, and is intended, not for children, nor exclusively for the young, but for all who are just commencing a religious life, and who feel desirous of receiving a familiar explanation of the first principles of piety. As it is a fact, however, that such persons are generally among the young, that is, from fifteen to twentyfive years of age, the work has been adapted in its style, and in the character of its illustrations, to their mental habits.
I have, however, looked more toward childhood than toward maturity in choosing the form in which I have presented the truth, and the narrative or dialogue by which I have illustrated it. A young man of twenty-five will look back to his boyhood, and understand an illustration drawn from one of its scenes, far more easily than the boy can look forward to future life, and comprehend and appreciate allusions to the pursuits of the man. I trust that the reader of mature mind, into whose hands this book may fall, will excuse this partiality for the young.
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. Many of these are imaginarycases supposed for the purpose of illustration. Where this is the case, however, it is distinctly stated; and all those accounts which are introduced as statements of facts are strictly true. I am not certain but that some individuals may object to the number of imaginary incidents which I have thus introduced. If the principles stated above are not consi