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ELEMENTS OF USEFUL KNOWLEDGE,
LISTS OF SELECT BOOKS
On wery important Subject of Learning and Science ;
DESIGNED FOR THE
Higher Classes in Schools,
YOUNG PERSONS IN GENERAL.
BY JOHN MILLARD,
Our method of discovering the Sciences does not depend upon subtilty and
Of all the particulars which distinguish the present age from those which have preceded it,-few, perhaps, are more honourable or important, than the very superior character of its books of instruction.
The times are not very remote, in which the juvenile library' was totally destitute of any book of real merit, except the school-classics. Until within a very few years, fables much above the comprehension of children, and tales almost as unfit to promote rational entertainment, as they were incapable of producing intellectual improvement.--constituted nearly the whole stock of the recreative readiog provided for young persons.
It is probably true, as Dr. Johnson has observed, that "a voluntary descent from the dignity of science, is the hardest lesson humility can teach." The authors of those days were, perhaps, unwilling to condescend to the infirmities of juvenile intellects:
“ Pride often guides the author's pen."
But this cause of complaint, however it may have originated, exists no longer. Books of instruction, of all kinds, have multiplied prodigiously. Erudition has con. descended to assist instruction in guiding our youth to the temple of wisdom.
Elementary treatises, in every art and science, have been composed by men of learning. And, these have been concentrated in useful compendiums, suited to the capacities of young persons, and eminently calculated to gratify that desire of various information, which is so strongly implanted in the youthful mind; and which, when properly regulated, affords the best means of real improvement.
DR. WATTS, who understood the work of instruction as well as any man, has strongly recommended the promotion and gratification of intellectual curiosity :—"Almost every thing, he says, is new to a child, and novelty will entice them onward to new acquisitions: shew them the birds, the beasts, the fishes, and insects; trees, herbs, fruits, and all the several parts and properties of the animal world :
-teach them to observe the various occurrences in Nature and Providence, the sun, moon, and stars, the day and night, summer and winter, the clouds and the sky, the hail, snow, and ice, winds, fire, water, earth, air, fields, woods, mountains, rivers, &c. Teach them that the GREAT GOD made all these things, and his Providence governs them all. Acquaint a child also with domestic affairs, so far as is needful, and with the things that belong to the civil and the military life, the church and the state, with the works of God, and the works of men. A thousand objects that strike their eyes, their ears, and all