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That a healthful religious influence should pervade all elementary books, is a principle which will not be contested in a Christian country. Human beings, in their most susceptible age, become habitually conversant with the daily lessons of the schools. These lessons are perused and reperused till the sentiments are not only lodged in the memory, but imprinted on the heart, and almost incorporated with the elements of the soul itself. Many individuals, now in middle age, will carry to the end of life the impressions which they received from the pages of the "American Preceptor," and the "Art of Reading.” In all heathen countries, the religious belief is found, in various forms, in every department of literature, and of common life. There is no reason why the principles of the Bible, in a Christian land, should not have an equal prominence in the systems of education and courses of discipline. In this work, while every thing of a sectarian and exclusive tendency has been carefully avoided, the compiler has kept in view, in making his selections, the moral nature and the destiny of the minds which may become interested in its pages. It is hoped that nothing will be found which will offend against the spirit of our Saviour's precepts.
To a considerable extent, it has been our intention to render the Eclectic Reader subservient to the great
cause of the moral renovation of the world. The time is fast coming, when the usefulness of every publication will be tested by its adaptedness to this object. This is the great design of our Creator in his providentiat government of the world, and it ought to be the main purpose of his intelligent creatures in all their labors. It has not been so much the intention of the compiler to advocate any specific modes .of benevolent effort, as to cherish in the baroms of hispieaders an enlarged
and philanthropic spirit. "The good of one's own country • is best secured by consulting for the interests of the
whole human race. The effort has been made to select such articles as men of a truly catholic spirit, in all countries, may regard with approbation, rather than those of a patriotic or national character.
More than THREE FOURTHS of the articles in the Eclectic Reader" are not found in any other selection, not excepting Mr. Cheever's excellent compilations. Fifteen or twenty of the most popular reading books have been examined, so that this selection might have the character of novelty and variety. If the articles are of equal merit with those contained in previous collections, an important object is attained, as a new body of valuable English literature is presented to the youthful mind.
The compiler has endeavored to keep in recollection the principle, that the young reader should be familiarized with those kinds of writing with which he will most commonly meet in mature life. It were easy to multiply extracts from Dr. Johnson, Dr. Blair, Mr. Alison, and other writers of a stately and formal character. But little preparation could be made in this way for the exigencies of a miscellaneous and widely various reading. The style of writing at the present time is more forcible,
direct and unembarrassed than was the case in the days of Queen Anne, or George III. The same objection may be made to the selection of dialogues, except so far as the reading of them serves to give variety and compass to the intonations of the voice. They are not the species of composition with which it is necessary to become very familiar. Unhappily, also, many dialogues are objectionable on the score of morality and good taste.
In conclusion, the compiler hopes that the Eclectic Reader will be an acceptable addition to the number of reading books already before the public. Selections might have been made from Milton, Cowper, Shakespeare, Thomson, and other well-known writers, both foreign and American; but it was not necessary. As
; some compensation, the man of taste will be pleased with the mature and finished compositions of Professors Playfair and Frisbie, the delightful allegories of Jane Taylor, the “wisdom married to immortal verse” of Coleridge and Wordsworth, the manly sense and comprehensive views of Evarts, and the Ciceronian elegance and dignity of Robert Hall.
LESSONS IN PROSE.
4. Burial Places in the Country.
10. Death of Sir Philip Sidney
16. Calista, or Spiritual-Mindedness.. Christian Observer. 45
20. Instruction and Education ... . Annals of Education. 51
24. Pledge to abstain from the Use of Spirits..Henry Ware, Jr. 59
25. The Dawning of a better Day. ..James Douglas. 62
30. Letter from the Poet Cowper to Mrs. King
31. Moral Destiny of the United States... Jeremiah Evarts. 69
34. Sublime Virtues inconsistent with Infidelity. . . Robert Hall. 82
43. The happy Prospects of the Righteous. . Robert Hall. 94
47. Commanding Position of the United States...D). Webster. 99
49. Character of Brainerd and Martyn... . Robert Hall. 103
53. Winter Evening in an Icelandic Family Henderson. 107
55. Forest Trees preparing for Winter...
58. The Glory of God in Creation. President Edwards. 114
59. The Landers sailing down the Niger
61. Qualities of a well-regulated Mind... Abercrombie. 120
64. Improvement in the Science of Analogy ...Pres. Wayland. 126
65. Hurricane in Barbadoes in August, 1831. Described
by one of the Moravian Missionaries..
66. Pilgrim Fathers of New England Robert Vaughan. 132
68. The Slave-trading Nations...
77. Memoir of Lady Huntingdon ....... Christian Offering. 150
78. The Power of Christianity..American Quarterly Register. 154
79. New Republics of the South
82. Permanence of literary Monuments..James Montgomery. 161
83. Extract from a Speech on the Indian Bill, in the
Congress of the United States Isaac C. Bates. 163
85. Prospects of the Cherokees
86. Youth and Studies of Pascal
87. Cruelty of confining Birds
92. Ingenuity of the Ant-Lion.
93. Proper Method of Education .Professor Jardine. 181
97. Danger of an exclusive Attention to Secular Learn-
98. Effects of a good Government.. .Algernon Sidney. 189
99. Incomprehensibility of God no Argument against his
101. Prospects of the United States
102. Conversation in a Library.
105. Character of Professor Playfair Francis Jeffrey. 205
106. Parallel between Leibnitz and Newton ...Playfair. 207
109. Character of Dugald Stewart .Sir James Mackintosh. 213
110. Aristotle, Bacon and Luther
111. Influence of perverted Talents.... .Professor Frisbie. 217
113. Value of Classical Learning.
114. Letter from Lord Collingwood to his Daughter... 224
119. Crater of Kirauea in Hawaii
( 120. Advantages of Decision of Character .....John Foster. 240
121. Discovery of the New World .... Washington Irving: 243
122. Reception of Columbus on his Return to Spain .. Ibid. 247
124. Living without God in the World.. ...John Foster. 254
126. Importance of the Union of the States... Daniel Webster. 258
132. The Active Service of Heaven. Nat. Hist. of Enthusiasm. 269
133. Valedictory Counsels of Washington
134. Obligations resting upon the People of the United
States to preserve the Union Daniel Wcbster. 276
137. No Cause of Enmity between the United States and
139. Union of Piety and Learning in the Christian Min-
140. Thomas Simpson ....Library of Entertaining Knowledge. 292
141. Cemeteries and Rites of Burial in Turkey...... Hartley. 299
142. Speech in the British Parliament, on the Motion for
145. Colloquial Powers of Dr. Franklin. William Wirt. 308
150. Examples of Self-taught Men
151. Select Sentences in Prose...