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LESSONS OF TRUTH AND DUTY
A CHOICE SELECTION OF
FACTS, OCCURRENCES, EXAMPLES, TESTIMONIES, INCIDENTS,
INTEREST AND VALUE
By H. A. DOWNING,
"Well selected anecdotes are like striking pictures, giving the
ILLUSTRATED FROM ORIGINAL DESIGNS BY BILLINGS
PUBLISHED BY CASE, LOCKWOOD & CO.
Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1854, by
CASE, TIFFANY AND COMPANY,
in the Clerk's Office of the District Court of Connecticut.
NECDOTES are always full of interest, to all classes of readers. And
when they are well selected, they deeply enstamp on the memory the most important lessons.
A fact is often more impressive than an argument; or rather it is an argument in practical form—an argument drawn not from the speculations of theory, but from the actual realities of life. Abstract statements may, and doubtless do, impress a certain class of minds; but to the great mass of mankind, an incident of every-day life, a narrative, a conversation, an actual occurrence, comes with far greater power.
The most earnest didactic inculcation of perseverance, for example, makes but a passing impression on most persons who may hear it; but the story of Bruce, watching the spider while once, twice, three, four, five, and six times it failed to fasten its web, but the seventh time succeeded, and then resolving that though six times he had failed, he would again endeavor to secure his kingdom, and in the seventh effort, like the patient insect, succeeding: this story has probably impressed indelibly the importance and the purpose of perseverance on multitudes of readers or hearers. So the most fervid homily on the vanity of the world and its greatness, is often forgotten as soon as uttered; but the dying speech of Saladin the Great, not only conveys a most solemn lesson, but one that it is well nigh impossible not to remember.
If such be the power of Anecdotes, to impress truth and duty, and present them in the most advantageous and attractive form, then the value to THE FAMILY of well selected anecdotes is incalculable. There they inay aid parents in teaching their children, and fix in the minds of children, lessons that shall guide them safely in all their future course. Not only by the interest they awaken and by the realities they present, will they destroy the taste for corrupting fictitious reading, but they will implant principles and hold forth examples, that may be the salvation of the individual for time and eternity.
Impressed with the correctness of these views, the editor has endeavored to prepare what hitherto he has never met,* a volume of ANECDOTES FOR THE FAMILY. In making his selections, he has carefully examined, and freely made use of such works as the twelve volumes of "Anecdotes" by the London Tract Society, the "Percy Anecdotes,” “Buck's Religious Anecdotes," the "World's Laconics," "Arvine's Anecdotes," several volumes of “Missionary” and several of “Foreign Anecdotes," &c., &c., &c.
For its range and variety, and the interest and value of the lessons inculcated, it is believed that the present collection may be said to be unsurpassed, if not unequaled, by any hitherto made. And now it is commended to FAMILIES and HEADS OF FAMILIES throughout the land, in the hope and with the prayer, that it may be a source of rich and lasting blessing to many a household.
H. A. D. JANUARY, 1855.
* Except a single small volume called "Anecdotes for the Family,” but which is more properly a collection of anecdotes having reference to family relations.
Anecdotes for the Family.
BUSE.Plutarch, in his admirable biographies, tells us that Cato the Censor, being scurrilously treated by a fellow who led a licentious and dissolute life, said to him
quietly, “A contest between thee www.and me is very unequal; for thou canst bear ill language with ease, and return
it with pleasure; but for my part, 'tis unusual for me to hear it, and disagreeable to speak it."
ADVICE, GOOD.—Sir Philip Sidney left to his acquaintance this last request and advice: “Love my memory; cherish my friends; but, above all, govern your will and affections by the will and word of your Creator. In me behold the end of this world, and all its vanities.”
AFFECTION, FILIAL.—General George Washington, when quite young, was about to go to sea as a midshipman; everything was arranged, the vessel lay opposite his father's house, the little boat had come ashore to take him off, and his whole heart was bent on going. After his trunk had been carried down to the boat, he went to bid his mother farewell, and saw the tears bursting from her eyes. However, he said nothing to her; but feeling that she would be distressed if he went, and perhaps never be happy again, he turned round to the servant, and said, “Go and tell them to fetch my trunk back;