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BY REV. DANIEL SMITH.
"Examples draw when precepts fail."
New-York: PUBLISHED BY LANE & SCOTT,
JOSEPH LONG KING, PRINTER.
Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1852, by
L A NE & SCOTT,
in the Clerk's Office of the District Court of the Southern
District of New-York.
This volume is designed as an agreeable and edifying companion for the parlour, the fireside, and the closet. While the compiler has sought to adapt it to all, he has had his eye especially upon that large class of young ladies of intellect, education, and refinement, who are annually entering upon the active and responsiLe duties of life. He would, by the presentation of these examples of lofty purpose and true elevation of character, contribute a mite, at least, towards checking that levity and frivolity, so prevalent in fashionable society, yet so far beneath the dignity of a rational being, and so entirely incompatible with living for immortality.
And is it not indeed a wonder, that a being conscious to herself of possessing all the attributes essential to high resolves and noble deeds-cultivated intellect, generous sensibilities, lively imagination, and refinement of manners-occupying, too, the elevated position which Christian civilization assigns to woman, and wielding an influence of great extent and power—that such a being can descend to be the mere gay butterfly of the passing hour, wasting invaluable time in a ceaseless round of fashionable follies; frequenting those places of amusement--the ball-room,
the card-table, and those circles, where the only things that pass current are gossipping, flirting, and “small talk;" and where sensible discourse, or a prayer to the Supreme Being, would be regarded as entirely out of place?
And can a young lady of good sense and generous impulses, trace the history of such persons as Lady Jane Grey and Mrs. Rowe without resolving to redeem the time—to buy up every fleeting half-hour for the cultivation of her mind? Or can she follow Lady Huntingdon and Mrs. Graham in their career of untiring benevolence; or Mrs. Morris, in her path of self-denial, her work of faith, and to her suffering yet triumphant death-bed; without purposing “ to follow them as they followed Christ ?”
Example is an instrumentality for good or for evil of immense power. “He that walketh with wise men shall be wise; but a companion of fools shall be destroyed.” This principle applies to books, as well as to personal intercourse. “Tell me with whom you live, and I will tell you what you are," says the Spanish proverb. We may say with almost equal emphasis, " Tell me what you read, and I will tell you what you are." A single pernicious volume may give a wrong direction to a being whose lifetime is eternity. A good book, on the other hand, may implant in the heart the seed that shall bear fruit to eternal life. D. S.