« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »
TO THIS REVISED EDITION.
THE revision and enlargement of the History, to which the earlier editions of this work were adapted, occasioned so many alterations, that the answers to many questions could not be found. This caused much embarrassment to both teachers and scholars, though not to such an extent as to destroy its usefulness. The public have continued to call for this system of questions till it is felt that they have a right to an edition free from the inconveniences above mentioned. Such an edition is now furnished.
The whole work, in other respects, is substantially what it was before. One of the notes has been shortened, because the ground was so fully covered by the additions to the History. A few unimportant questions have been
Importance of History.
Of what does history set before us striking instances?
By what principle, does it incite us to copy such noble examples? Against what, does history warn us? - How?
What hidden springs does it open?
What blessings does it illustrate ?
What does history conduce to illustrate and improve? Every art and every science.
With what science, has history the most important connection? Theology.
What is theology? The science, that teaches the perfections of God, and the duties we owe to him.
What history is most important? Sacred history.
which is not sacred? Profane history, or uninspired history.
What is ecclesiastical history! That which relates more particularly to the church of Christ.
What is civil history? That which relates to other subjects, more especially civil government and civil society.
Is sacred history ecclesiastical or civil? Both; but principally ecclesiastical.
Importance of our own History.
What history is next in importance to sacred history? That of our own country.
Is our history civil or ecclesiastical? Both.
What part of it should be regarded as principally ecclesiasti cal ? The history of New-England.
Why? Because a regard for the welfare and extension of the church, was the grand principle, that actuated the fathers of NewEngland, and because the churches here have had a leading influence in making New-England what it is.
Were not the fathers of NewEngland equally stimulated by a
regard to freedom and literature? They regarded these principally as conducive to the welfare of the church.
† NOTE A.
Importance of studying our own History.
This we should study, not merely, nor principally, because it is the history of our country, but because it is in itself superlatively important, and ought to be read by every eye, and live in every heart; because it is the history of the first civil government, that ever any people deliberately formed and adopted for themselves; the noblest political institution, that the world has ever seen; the first government, that was ever established upon the genuine basis of freedom. We should study our history, because it is the history of Christian enterprise of Christian enterprise, the most magnanimous and beneficent, that was ever devised and accomplished by human virtue; because it is the history of the wonderful works of God, in preparing for himself, a peculiar people, zealous of good works -in trying, proving and refining them in the furnace of affliction-in bringing them forth from the land of oppression-in preserving them from deaths oft -in sustaining, comforting, guiding, planting, multiplying, extending, strengthening and prospering them, when they were a poor, despised, persecuted people, regarded as the filth of the earth and the offscouring of all things. We should study the history of our country, because it is the history of faith, of patience, of meekness, of godliness, of brotherly kindness, of charity, of self denial, of fortitude, of perseverance, of every Christian grace, and of more than heroic virtue. We
Why is our history next in im portance, to sacred history? Because God has not dealt so with any other nation. Ps. 147. 20.
should study the history of our country, because it the history of an empire, manifestly destined to be more extensive, more populous, more mighty, more intelligent, more industrious, more enterprising, more wealthy, more virtuous, and more happy, than the sun has yet beheld, or perhaps will ever behold, till time shall be no longer. We should study the history of our country, because it has already given a most glorious impulse to freedom in distant lands, and because it is destined to give to the nations, new lessons upon the science of civil government and social happiness, upon the arts, upon education, upon every thing, that exalts and adorns humanity. We should study the history of our country, because it is the land of revivals, a garden that the Lord delights to bless, and because we have reason to believe, it is destined to do more than any other, to send the gospel through the world; to enlighten, convert and save mankind; to hasten the glories of the millennial day; and that this country shall be unto the Lord for a name and an everlasting sign, that shall not be cut off.
For these and other reasons, the history of this most distinguished land, deserves attention from all the inhabitants of the world; and no doubt it excites the admiring gratitude of all the inhabitants of heaven, and perhaps diffuses joy through millions of worlds.
It must be confessed, however, that the highest claims of our history are upon ourselves. God forbid, that we should regard our fathers with the coldness of strangers - that we should think it a