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In addition to the Improved Plan of Teaching which I have lately offered to public notice, there has always appeared to me to be something wanted, on a similar principle, as a GUIDE to Youth from the Academy to Manhood, arranged in that attractive and useful way, in which the subject may, with so much advantage, be placed before them. : · Precepts resemble pictures ; they have form and colour, but want life and motion; and, therefore, to render them truly efficacious, they ought to be enforced by obvious and unquestionable examples.
Be what you SEE, however, carries with it á much more commanding force than, be what you READ.. i
Most of the moral Treatises which I have read, are by no means reduced to the level of juvenile understanding, or properly adapted to attract and fix their attention by practical and interesting observations, without which such Tracts can be of no real service to youth. :)
It is extremely well known to every thinking person, that mere dull morality, and formal religious gravity, will disgust young minds, and deter
them from a perusal of what, if placed in a more natural point of view, and otherwise arranged and treated, might win their attention, and to their incalculable future benefit effectually impress their tender minds, which are as yet incapable of re-,' lishing and digesting that heavy mental food just alluded to: in short, it is the business of the MORALIST, the PHILOSOPHER, and the CHRISTIAN MENTOR, to attract their pupils' attention by every pleasing and winning method in their power.
To illustrate this remark, need I instance that admirable Work, the production of the great and good Archbishop of Cambray, the immortal FENELON? His Telemachus exactly corresponds with the idea I have of an attractive Treatise, or Plan of Advice, adapted to the instruction of Youth; though that Work was more immediately intended for a royal pupil, who was to inherit a throne.
I should not, probably, have presumed to pen a Work of this kind, had not my own sad experience strongly convinced me of the necessity of such a Treatise, and perhaps qualified me to attempt it: for some years back I have been no indifferent spectator and observer of men and manners, as well as of the astonishing ways of Providence, and the invariable effects of virtue and vice. I have formerly, in early life (and with sincere regret I tell it), though naturally well inclined, been sunk in vice, drowned in dissipation, and immersed in pleasure.
(falsely so called), but without grossly neglecting my business, or sensibly feeling that I was doing wrong, or acting wickedly against my God, and unjustly towards men. · I am not ashamed, however, to acknowledge my faults, because determined to correct them, and to make my errors useful to the rising generation : with a warning voice I shall " earnestly cry aloud to the young, and not spare myself or them.”--Obscure as I am, and though the past scenes of my life might form an affecting novel, I shall introduce nothing of the marvellous, nothing heightened ; all shall be truth, candour, and instructive morality to the young, whose sincere friend I am from habit and from choice.
The unpleasantness of the personal confessions which I have thought fit to make, for the warning and instruction of youth, will be considerably diminished by my reflections on their useful tendency, the early stage of life in which the errors alluded to were committed, and the more correct conduct of my riper years.
&c. &c. &c.
UOUS Youth! whoever you are that may chance to read this, and whatever your age may be, to you I now address myself :---put entire confidence in me, and believe me, when I assert it, that, if proper attention be paid by you to what I am about to submit to your serious reflection as a guide for your conduct in life, it will procure you more real felicity, pure and solid enjoyment, and save you from more anguish of mind, misery, and unhappiness, than you are yet capable of knowing or feeling, because your mind is yet comparatively unsullied, your spirits unbroken, and you have not experienced the frowns of the world, the evils of life, and the fatal effects of vice, which my unhappy