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Jesus saith to Peter; Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? - He saith unto Him, Yea, Lord; Thou knowest that I love thee. Jesus saith unto Him, Feed my lambs.
John, xxi. 15.
The Eighth Edition,
WITH ADDITIONS AND CORRECTIONS.
T. CADELL, STRAND;
TO THE REVEREND
BENJAMIN HEATH, D.D.
FELLOW OF ETON COLLEGE, ETC.
If I venture to assert that more than customary attention might advantageously be allotted, and ought to be allotted, to'the inculcation of Christian principles and knowledge on the youth of this country, let me not be thought desirous of loading their instructors with harsh and indiscriminate censure.
My own personal experience might lead me to a more equitable conclusion. Nearly six of the earlier years of my education were consigned to the care of a clergyman *, whose life exemplified the religious lessons which he endeavoured to impress on his pupils. The years intervening between private tuition and the University were passed at the very eminent public schoolt over
* The Rev. John Pickering, of Mackworth, near Derby. † At Harrow on the Hill.
which you then presided. I recollect with pleasure that the head class, which was under your immediate superintendence, was regularly occupied during one morning in the common days of the week in the study of some book of a religious
Nor was this the only effort pointed to the same end in the conduct of the school. But I fear that many young persons, if summoned from seminaries of repute to a public examination, would give a better account of the fabled wanderings of Ulysses and Æneas than of the heavendirected journeyings of Moses and Saint Paul ; and would display a more intimate acquaintance with the fortunes of Athens and Rome, than with the historical progress of a religion designed to be their supreme comfort and guide through life, and the means of acquiring eternal happiness.
The principal fault, when faults exist, is not in the preceptor, but in the parent. The former is to water the plant; the latter must sow the seed. But how often does the parent limit his concern for the best interests of his children to the decorum of mere morals: without impressing on their minds, perhaps without feeling on his own, a firm and habitual conviction, that there is no stable foundation on which morality can rest except a Christian fear and love of God! How
often does the parent expend his solicitude in unremitting efforts to fit his children for worldly eminence; to prepare them to make their way as politicians, as merchants, as followers of lucrative professions; to be skilful seamen, intrepid soldiers, men of learning, of taste, of accomplishments, and what the world is pleased to call “men of honour;” regardless of the duty of training them up as servants of a God of holiness, and disciples of a crucified Saviour !
A work intended to facilitate the attainment of the most important knowledge will experience, I am confident, your favourable acceptance. I offer it to you with additional satisfaction, as it affords to me an opportunity of conveying to you a public assurance that I retain a grateful remembrance of your instructions.
Yoxall Lodge, near Lichfield,
Nov. 11. 1799.