« PreviousContinue »
ment for the scholar, and of profitable instruction to those who read but little. The character given of it when first published, in the Evangelical Review, was as follows. “ This work is “well calculated for young persons, and may prove in many
cases, a very acceptable present to them, as it conveys much “instruction, mingled with entertainment. It will also serve
for a pleasing companion to the traveller in the chaise or the “ stage coach. In short, it affords a copious fund of rational
amusement for a leisure hour. We have no doubt but it "will obtain, as it certainly merits, an extensive circulation."
ASHBEL GREEN. Philadelphia, Aug. 3d, 1831.
To inform the mind, affect the heart, and promote the best interests of mankind, must ever be considered as a pleasing and honourable employ. Various means, indeed, may be made use of in order to accomplish these ends. Some do good by wise and judicious conversation : others by constant and laborious teaching; and many by an excellent and uniform character. The Compiler of these volumes has here attempted to contribute something towards so good and desirable a work.
It need not be observed, that men are naturally indifferent about their duty to God, and unconcerned as to the welfare of their immortal souls. Any attempt, therefore, to set before them the grand object of veneration and worship, to rouse them to duty, to facilitate their happiness, to show them the deformity of vice, and to inspire them with true and exalted views of the sacred Religion of Jesus, cannot, I think, be considered as unworthy of attention. How far this Work will conduce to these ends, must be left to the judgment of the Reader.
Volumes of Anecdotes have already been presented to the public under various titles; but none that I know of which have been more particularly selected as religious, and more immediately calculated to lead men to genuine devotion and solid piety. It is to be lamented, that while many write merely to amuse the imagination, the real profit of the mind is not thought of. The passions, perhaps, are affected, and the fancy pleased, while the temper remains unsubdued, the heart unimpressed, and the conduct unstable and irregular. Now, without incurring the charge of egotism, I hope the present Work, while it affords a degree of entertainment to the Reader, will also tend to excite reverence for the best of Beings ; a regard for the noble and delightful system of Christianity ; together with benevolence to our fellow mortals, and an earnest desire to devote ourselves to the glory and service of our God and Saviour.
The Reader will evidently see that novelty has not been so much design as utility. If any object, however, to the Work on this account, only say in reply, that Anecdotes cannot be made. In writing on any system, invention may be displayed, and the ideas of the author may bear the air of novelty : but in a Work of this kind, we must confine ourselves to our materials. I own it is not difficult to find, now and then, an original Anecdote ; but, in this age of writing and publishing, it would be very difficult indeed to find a volume of them, since almost every thing of importance is speedily conveyed to the press for the public benefit. We must, therefore, take them as we find them, and make the best improvement of them we can.
I am conscious that every Anecdote will not strike the mind of the Reader with equal importance : nor can it be expected, that, in a selection of some hundreds, it should be so. Besides, men are of different tastes ; they form different views, and are situated in different circumstances : each one, therefore, will judge favourably of that which is most congenial to his own ideas. The compiler, however, deprecates the severity of the critic, and hopes that
candour will perform the office of a kind friend, who is more disposed to pardon than to indulge a spirit of invective. In respect to authenticity, which is of considerable importance in a work of this kind, I have carefully avoided what appeared to be apocryphal, and bore but scrupulous evidence ; yet, after all
, if any thing should be found of this kind, (which I am ignorant of, if there be,) still its moral or use will be found beneficial, pointing the Reader to view religion and morality as worthy of his sincere regard and constant pursuit.
To conclude: if any good be done, any mind instructed, any comfort derived ; if love to men, gratitude to our adorable Redeemer, and a firm adherence to the truth, be excited or promoted by this selection, it will abundantly compensate the little labour and feeble efforts of the Compiler.
INDEX TO VOL. I.
ABBOT, Archb'p, 41, 48 Bacon, Lord, 18, 186, Boyle, Mr. 95
103 Brown, Mr. J. 24
5 Benedict XII. 22 Bruce, death of, 30
8 Budæus, wife of, 151
Berkley, Bishop, 50 Burford, Countess
30 Burkitt, Mr. 154
best book, 125 Buxton, Jedediah,
125 CESAR, Julius, .. 153
153 Bilney, Mr. forti- benevolence of, 8
158 example of, 45
12 Calamy, Dr. 82
14 Calculation of the
153 Blackwall, Mr. 49 inhabitants of the
137 of inhabitants,
36 Capuchins, burying
i 6 ance of, 155 Charles V. 93, 109, 119,
Charles I. flattered, 48 Cyril,
121 | Elizabeth, Queen, 100,
Elwes, avarice of, . 6
7 raised from low
Deaf woman a con- Encouragement to
126 stant attendant, 169 preachers, 83
contempt of, 156 Epaminondas, 46, 187
201 Deaths, happy, 30 Epictetus, saying of, 153
118 Diagora's three sons, 201
19 Dieneces, saying of, 156 Faith, 57, the far-
119 implicit, 181
Fearful turned cou-
advice to, 152
128 Dress, 35, 147 Fielding, Justice,
37 Fienus, quotation
37 Filial affection, 45
116 Dwight, Dr. dis- Flavel, Mr. 27
courses on infi-
Fletcher, Rev. Mr. 177
queen of, 151 Frederic II. 19, 40
123 Frescobald, 166