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MORAL AND RELIGIOUS
A COLLECTION OF NEARLY THREE THOUSAND FACTS,
INCIDENTS, NARRATIVES, EXAMPLES,
AND TESTIMONIES, ORIGINAL AND SELECTED.
THE WHOLE ARRANGED AND CLASSIFIED
ON A NEW PLAN;
20. f. 508.
ORIGIN AND DESIGN OF THE WORK.
NE of the best means which I have found to fasten moral and
religious truths on the popular mind is to present them clothed in tangible forms, as in anecdotes, historical sketches, and kindred illustrations. They do much, when rightly used, to enlist attention, convince the judgment, and persuade the heart. I have often seen the truth of the proverb,
“ One fact is worth a ship-load of arguments." As we might naturally suppose, an example of virtue is more forcible than a precept, because men are more ready to imitate than they are to obey : and citing an instance of the effects of sin often tells more loudly than a lecture against it, because men more readily imagine fallacy in our logic than falsehood in our statements, and give more deference to the doings of God than to the sayings of man. Besides, in most men, the perceptive predominate over the reflective faculties; hence, faut and incident, which strike the former, are more easily remembered than trains of reasoning, which appeal to the latter.
The great moral uses of such illustrations in the family and social circle, in the Sabbath school and the pulpit, have not only been proved in my own experience, but in that of many others. To supply, therefore, their wants and my own, I have devoted much time and pains for a number of years past to the preparation of the present work.
CHARACTER OF THE WORK. The anecdotes, incidents, and historical sketebes, here assembled, are moral and religious ; a wider range of subjects would have made