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I has been a general and true Observation, that cuitb the Reformation of these Realms, Ignorance has gradually vanished at the increafe of Learning among At us, who take the Word
of God for a Lantern to our Feet, and a Light to our Paths. Thus,
They who grop'd their way to Virtue and Knowledge in the Days of Darkness and implicit Zeal, were taught little more than to mumble over a few Prayers by Heart, and never called upon to read, much less permitted to enquire into the Truth of what they profefed. But
Since the Sunshine of the Gospel of Jesus Christ has risen amongst us; fince we are loofed from the Bands of Ignorance and Superftition ; fince every Proteftant believes it to be his Duty to promote Chriftian Knowledge ; certainly it will be confeffed, that all Improvements in Learning ought to be incouraged; and consequently that they deserveour particular Regard, who study to make the firf Steps i hereof firm and easy. For hva man Prudence teacheth, That a good Beginning is the most reaonable Profpect of a good Ending. Therefore,
As we boaft of greater Advantages than our Forefathers, let
I ake care, left we frustrate that great Work begin amongst wi, by a negligent Profecution of our Duty: For I weseld have you well assured, that it is as bad to learn the first Rudiments of Literature under wrong and depraved Habits, as not to learn them at all. For, the Man feldom clears himself of those ill Faculties, which be contracted in his tender Age: So, Jays Solomon, Train up a.Child in the way he thould when he is old he will not depart from it. And,
As all Learning gradually ascends from the firf Knowledge ? use of Letters, Syllables and Works, what better Work
Inftructor of Youth undertake, than endeavour to pro
pagate the Knowledge, prevent and retrify the Mistakes, and root out the ill Habits contraEted by many in a wrong Method, ris ber thro' the Ignorance or neglect of the Teacher. Therefore,
As to Letters, we are to observe that they are the Founda tion of all Learning, as being those Parts, of which all Sylla. bles, Words, Sentences and Speeches are composed. As 10 tbeir Shape or Form, those commonly used in the English, katin, German, French, Spanish, Portugaeze and Italian Languages, are described in the forft Page of this Book. As to their Nunber, in English they are Twenty-fix. As to their Division, they are naturally divided into Vowels and Confonants : and again into single and double Letters.
As to Syllables: A Syllable is the uniting one or more Corse fonants with a Vowel, by which each Letter receives its perfea Sound in Pronunciation; as you may find in the Examples of the second and third Pages.
As to Words; they confist of one or more Syllables, and are given us by the alwise God, as a Means by which, not only one Man may make his own Thoughts known to another, but that we thereby may also arrive to the Knazvledge of the Will of Him our Creator, revealed in the sacred Oracles of his Divine Word. Wherefore,
Seeing that the use of Letters Syllables and Words, is of to great Consequence to human Creatures, rubat Care fouled to taken to few that we have acquir'd a true Knowledge thereof, by giving each Letter its proper Place, each Syllable its right Division and true Accent, and each Word its natural Sound; which will certainly guide every one to a just Cadence of their Sentences; without which no one can pretend to write or read intelligibly to others. And
Yet by daily Experience it is found that even many, who bave attained to the Art of writing a good Hand, are so unfortunate in Spelling, that neither themselves, nor the more knowing, can guess at the Meaning, couched under such a preposterous jumble of Letters set for Words. Because, having never been taught the general Forcę or Power and Sound of the English Letters, nor the cuftomary and various Uses of Diphthongs; not to mention their total Ignorance of the Derivation of Words, they neither spell according to Custom, Sound, nor Derivation, Wherefore, for the sake of such unhappy Scholars, and as much as in me lies, to prevent the Growth of such an. Evil,
I have in the following Sheets, collected as many Forms of Spelling, as ibe English Tongue affords in
Praftics. And as Monofyllables not only make the greate; Part of our Tongue, but are the fubftantial Parts of all Words of more than one Syllable, I have been the more particularly careful to reduce them into such an Order, as, at the same time to take off much Trouble from the Teacher, and 19 be of more general Advantrige to the young Beginner. For tho' it be true i hat other Performances of this Nature have pretended to proceed Step by Step; yet it is true also that none of them have provided those gradual Paces for their Scholars re ascend hy, till they arrive at the Perfection of Spelling. For,
In the several Praxes or Lessons of Monofyllables hitherto published in our Mother Tongue, instead of rising Step by Step, Children are taught to jump before they can go; and if they prove uncapable to take such long Strides, as reach sometimes from Monofyllables of two, 10 others of seven or eight Letters, before they are informed of those that come between, they must be thump'd and lugg'd forward, without being once instructed in the right Knowledge of the most common and useful Parts of our Tongue Certainly this is as barbarous in Literature, as it would be cruel in Behaviour, to bid a Child take care bor it comes up Stairs, and then to beat it because it cannot ftride up seven or eight Steps at once,
Again : If it be reasonable, in the Order of Words, to begin with those of one Syllable, as all Spelling Authors agree : it must be aljo granted as reasonable, that Monofyllables, which con ijt of various Quaniities of Letters, fbould be taughe in the same order, proceeding gradually from Words of two Letrers, to Words of three, four, five, & c. Letters, 'as is exsmplified in the following Tables. Besides, Experience, wirich must be allowed to be the best Master, will foon decları . in Favour of this Method. Therefore,
I have first collected only Words of two Letters ; then Words of three Letters ; after that Words of four Lete ters, &c. with short ealy Leffons between each Table of Wirds, adapted in such a Manner, that no Leffon comains any one Word which does not belong to a preceding Table. And tho I am apprehensive that some may object against the Shortness of these Lefons, it is without Fudgment; for any one that inftrućts Children, zwill readily grant that it is better for the Learner to read a fhort Leion twice or thrice over at one Reading, than a long Lesson but once. But,
By way of Apology, it is hoped the kilful Teacher will pardon the Change of fome Words in these Lessons taken from Scripture, when I declare, it was with this Vinw alone, for
abe Ease of the Scholar, that I have substituted an easy Word in the Place of one of more difficult Pronunciation; where nea vertheless, I have always kept up the true Sense, tho' I have taken the Liberty to alter the Expression,
Again: It mult be acknowledged that the Art Six Lellon do buz just make Englih: yet, I hope, whoever confiders the Difficulty of compo, ing Sentences to be read in Leifons, wherein each Word is confined to three Letters, zuill readily over
the baseness of the Language, it not being our Province to teach the Politeness of Stile, but only to provide proper Mate. rials, of which all Diction is composed. Yet great Care is taken to avoid all such Words in every part of this Book, which might tend to excite loose and disorderly Thoug bus, or put Youth or Modesty to the Blush: and all my Tables are filled with the eafieft Words in our Language ; even such as a Child may have some Idea of at the first
. Pronunciation. Moreover, as we have many Words in English, which
agree with Orthography, but differ in Sound, I have admonijhed the Learner thercof, by inclosing such Words within a Parenthesis, thus, (dóne) (gone) (none) as at the bottom of Page ro.
Having thus with much Pains collected Monofyllables, which are the most useful part of our Language, and reduced them into fuch an order, as seein' d 10 me, to jërve the Purposes of an easy Initriklion, much beiter than any of thole Collections Publihed before ihis time, I must af'une jell, that my Care has been equally as much concerned how to facilitate the compounding and dividing such Words ous confit of more Syllables than one.
For this purpose, I have confulted the Nethed of Spelling or dividing Syllables in long Words, both according to their Sound, and to the Rules of Grammar: And therefore in the perufal of this Ejay rozvards Spelling, you will find that whenever á Word occurs, that may be divided one way by Sound, and another by Grammar, the Scholar is directed how to understand the doubtful Division by his Mark (") over the right side of the Vowel, which according to the Sound, ought to be joined with the follozving Confonant, which is nevertheless contrary to the Rules of Grammar ; and therefore divided in such a manner as you find them printed.
And as to the Lessons proper to cach Table of Words of many Syllables, the same Care has been continued, not to ads mit any Word to be read in the jame, but such only as Jhall belong to some of the foregoing Tables. And I hope it will be esteemed a Perfe lion, that I have omitted all superfimous Hebrew and obsolete Naines, and not detained the
Learner from the Attainment of more useful Words by stopping bis Progress in Search of those Names proper to Places and Things, as others have done before, by filling many Pages with such Names of Persons, which are not commonly received or used among us; which 100 often naufeate the young Begin ner, and prevent the defired Effect of the diligent Teacher, uboje Place it is to instruct bis Scholars in the most necessary Parts of Literature, And
Here I bould finish my Account of this first Part of Spell. ing, was it not my Province to explode that erroneous Pretence of teaching Children to spell altogether by the Ear. In Opposition to which, I will fairly ask those Teachers, Wher ber their Scholars did ever attain to a right Judgment of Spelling by that Method, till they were afterwards better instructed according to Rule? And if this be true, as most certainly it is, obat there can be no true Method of Spelling without Rule, ? will appeal to my Readers, how inconsistent it is first to teacb by tbe former Way, those Things which afterwards can never be attained but by the latter. Certainly every one will join with me in ibis Particular, that it is the greatest Folly in the World to learn Things, that afterwards must be learned in another
Consequently I may prefame to be instrumental in teaching Children to pronounce their Words clear and distinct, without Tones or distorted Countenances, which ill Habits, it is well Inown, are too frequently contracted under such bad Methods of Instruction, which I have endeavoured to root out : Habits, which it is too true to be concealed, as it were, persecute the Learners thro' the different Stages of Life: For having been accustomed to a bad Tone in their early Pronunciation, are Aarce ever able afterward' to quit their lamentable Way of reading with Hems and Hahs.
The Second Part contains such Words, which tha? they agree in Sound, differ in Signification, and therefore the Learner ought to be well acquainted with them, in order to prevent bis writing one Word for another, of the fame Sound.
The Third Part is a Compendium of English Grammar, de figned only for English Schools, to enable fuch as are intended to rise no higher, to zurite their Mother-Tongue intelligibly, and according to the Rules of Grammar: And I hope it will answer the End proposed. But
As Practice, in all Arts and Sciences, is the great Medium of Instruction between Master and Scholar, I would advise all Teachers, wben they find ibeir Learners relih ke Rules of this