Young Christian's first lesson-book/Preface
THE little Verſes now before the Reader were written at the deſire of my most worthy and honoured friend. the Rev. Mr. Clark, of St. Albans; and are publiſhed at his requeſt as what he hopes may, by the divine bleſſing, do ſome good in the riſing generation. I was the more willing to undertake the task, because I had often obſerved with how much eaſe and pleaſure children learn verſes by heart how fond they are of repeating them, and by conſequence bow much longer they retain them, than they do what they learn in proſe.
In this view Dr Watts' Songs for Children have been a ſingular bleſſing to our land; and it is but juſtice to that great yet condeſcending writer to own that if this little essay be of any ſervice in it a great part of the thanks will be due to him who had digeſted the Chief Heads of Chriſtianity: And if I had not the patronage of ſuch illusſtrious names as have gone before me in ſuch humble labours. I ſhould think myſelf unworthy the honour of calling Jesus my Maſter if I thought it beneath me to be deſirous of doing good to the leasſt child of the pooreſt of the people.
That ſimplicity and eaſe which may ſuit children, I have been always careful to maintain; and have endeavored here and there, where I conveniently could to ſtrike the fancy with a little imagery, and eſpecially to affect the hearts of my dear little Scholars, by giving a ſerious and practical turn to the ſeveral truths which are delivered. It has alſo been my great care to inſert nothing into theſe Verſes but what, I apprehend, the generality of ſerious Chriſtians believe, ſo that I hope they will ſuit different denominations; as indeed I could wiſh the riſing age might be inſtructed in what is like to unite rather than divide us; their own comfort, as well as the credit of our common Chriſtianity is much concerned in it.
No nation under heaven appears to me ſo well furniſhed with helps for the Chriſtian education of children as our own. I heartily pray that parents may be diligent in uſing them and that they may inforce their good inſtructions with a ſuitable example: and then I doubt not but through the divine bleſſing, the happy fruits will be viſible; nor will a gracious God, who taketh pleaſure in the proſperity of his people, forget the leaſt pious and benevolent attempt, for promoting a good work.
|Oct. 31, 1743||P. Doddridge.|