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TO THE THIRD EDITION.
THE rapid sale of the two former editions of this little work, the author is much more willing to consider as an indication of the increasing interest taken in every thing relating to the Sunday School Institution, than as any public testimony to the value of his labors in the cause. His first wish concerning this important system, is, that it might continue to prosper; his second, that it might be his honor to aid its triumphs; if he be gratified to witness the former he could be contented to resign the latter, or at least could be satisfied, if his labors were successful, to be himself forgotten. He is anxious to see the beauties of holiness spreading over every region of society, but especially desirous of witnessing the fruits of righteousness abounding in the humble vale of poverty, where there are so few other fruits to be ordinarily found, and where, unless removed by the aid of real religion, the curse
which came upon the ground for man's sake peculiarly broods, and the thorn and the briar luxuriate by the sweat of his brow. Hence the author feels great pleasure in every symptom, fancied, or real, of growing attachment to an institution, so obviously adapted to promote this end.
The enlargements of the present edition will be found principally in the appendix, to which the author solicits the impartial attention of the committees and managers of schools, as to them, rather than the teachers in their individual capacity, the subjects there discussed, more particularly belong. If any should think he fears, where no fear is, in reference to certain prevailing practices, the author begs again to state, that as he considers the system of Sunday School education, in the light of a RELIGIOUS INSTITUTION, and is solicitous that others should consider it so too, he feels a Godly jealousy over every thing, that would be likely to interfere with its efficiency, in this high and sacred relation.
EDGBASTON, Jan. 1, 1817.
CONTENTS OF THE APPENDIX.
A BRIEF ACCOUNT OF THE ORIGIN, PROGRESS, AND IMPROVEMENT OF THE SUNDAY
SCHOOL SYSTEM OF EDUCATION.
TO trace a mighty river to its source, has ever been considered a sublime and interesting employment. It is pleasing to ascend its course from the point where it opens into the ocean, and becomes the inlet of wealth to an empire,. till we arrive at the spot, where it bubbles up a spring but just sufficient to irrigate the meadows of a neighbouring farm, and to observe, as it receives the confluence of tributary waters, how it diffuses its benefits to the tribes that dwell upon its banks. Still more engaging is the task, to trace the streams of benevolence to their source, and contemplate the origin of those institutions, which in their progress to the swelling tide of christian knowledge, confer eternal blessings on immortal souls. For what is the Nile or the Niger; the Missouri, the Euphrates, or the Thames, compared with