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Among persons who are convinced that youth, the spring-time of life, is the season when the seeds which are to occupy and fill the heart are to be sown; and who regard the acquisition of eternal happiness through Jesus Christ as the great object of human existence; it is a common, and, I fear, a just complaint, that in any mode of education sufficient attention is too seldom devoted to religion.
Of late years much has been done, and ably done, to facilitate the communication of religious knowledge to youth. Many excellent elementary works, having for their object the explanation of scriptural history, and scriptural doctrines, in a manner at once instructive and engaging to the opening mind of the pupil, have been given to the public ; and they have been received with the gratitude which the writers merited. Let me not be suspected of a disposition to detract from the value of those works, the circulation and use of which I wish to see every day more widely extended, when I venture to observe, that an additional treatise, on a plan somewhat enlarged, has appeared to me to be wanting; a treatise which might fitly intervene between the perusal of books of the class to which I have alluded, and the ample range of reading scarcely to be expected but from the leisure and industry of manhood. The deficiency which I conceived to exist, I have endeavoured in the following pages to supply.
My intention has been to lay before the reader a familiar and compendious view of the Christian religion, and of the principal historical events connected with its introduction and progress, its corruption and reformation; including a concise account of the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments, and a summary of the evidences of the truth of Christianity, together with some remarks on forms of churchgovernment and religious establishments. Bearing in mind that I have been addressing myself to natives of Great Britain, I have been solicitous to draw the attention of the reader, wherever the subject afforded a fit opportunity, to events or circumstances which have had a particular influence on his own country; and by rendering him acquainted with the principles on which its religious institutions are established, to guard him betimes from being hastily prejudiced against those institutions by misrepresentations or groundless objections. I have endeavoured, on suitable occasions, to obviate, without entering too deeply into argument, some of those cavils of scepticism and infidelity which a young person may probably hear ; and thus to lead him to withhold implicit confidence from others, which he may afterwards have to encounter. Throughout the whole work it has been my predominant desire to direct the acquisition of knowledge to its proper purpose; the establishment and confirmation of Christian views, motives, and practice through life.
I may trust that the candour of the public, which I have repeatedly experienced respecting other works, will be extended to the present, perhaps more humble, yet I would hope, under the blessing of God, not less useful attempt. My objects in drawing up this performance would be abundantly answered, if it should be deemed worthy of being placed as a manual in the hands of the youth of both sexes during their education at home or in public seminaries. I am also willing to persuade myself that it may prove a convenient summary to many persons of all ages, when they happen not to have leisure and opportunity for the perusal of larger works.
THE REV. THOMAS GISBORNE, M. A.
PUBLISHED BY T. CADELL, STRAND.
1. SERMONS, by the Rev. THOMAS GISBORNE, M.A. 2 vols. 8vo. 8th Edition, 16s. in boards.
2. SERMONS, principally designed to illustrate and to enforce Christian Morality. 8vo. 3d Edition. 9s. in boards.
3. A FAMILIAR EXPOSITION AND APPLICATION OF THE EPISTLE OF ST. PAUL TO THE COLOSSIANS, in a Course of Eight Sermons ; including an Examination of the general Nature and Use of the Epistles of the New Testament. To which are subjoined, TWO SERMONS, on Parts of the Example of St. Paul. 12mo. 5s. in boards.
4. THE TESTIMONY OF NATURAL THEOLOGY TO CHRISTIANITY. 2d Edition. 12mo. 5s. in boards.;
5. ESSAYS ON THE RECOLLECTIONS which are to subsist between Earthly Friends re-united in the World to come; and on other Subjects connected with Religion and in part with Prophecy. 2d Edition. 6s. in boards.
6. AN ENQUIRY INTO THE DUTIES OF MEN, in the Higher and Middle Classes of Society in Great Britain, resulting from their respective Stations, Professions, and Employments. 2 vols. 8vo. 7th Edition. 18s. in boards.
7. AN ENQUIRY INTO THE DUTIES OF THE FEMALE SEX. 11th Edition. 8vo. 8s.; or in a small pocket volume, 4s. in boards.
8. WALKS IN A FOREST, and other Poems: the 8th Edition. To which are added, some Poems not before published. 8vo. 9s. in boards.
9. WALKS IN A FOREST; or, Poems descriptive of Scenery and Incidents characteristic of a Forest at different Seasons of the Year. 9th Edition, corrected. Elegantly printed in a pocket volume, with Plates. 78. in boards.
10. POEMS, Sacred and Moral. 4th Edition, with Additions. Elegantly printed in a pocket volume, with Plates. 7s. in boards.