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FOR THE USE OF
FAMILIES, BIBLE-CLASSES, AND PRIVATE MEMBERS.
BY THOMAS SMYTH,
PASTOR OF THE SECOND
BOSTON, CROCKER & BREWSTER; NEW YORK, DAYTON
CHARLESTON, S. C., S. HART, SEN.;
Entered according to an Act of Congress, in the year 1841, BY THOMAS SMYTH,
In the Clerk's Office of the District Court of Massachusetts.
THE necessity for some such work as the present, has been long felt by many. Great detriment has accrued to the Presbyterian Church, from the want of that indoctrination in the principles of her worship and polity, which it is surely her duty to provide for all who commit themselves, and their children, to her teaching and guidance. Her members and children, have been thus attached to her, not so much by those ties of principle and conviction, which prove firm and enduring; as by merely local and personal considerations, which form, in times of difficulty, but a feeble bond of attachment. Other churches are diligent in their efforts, to imbue the young mind with the knowledge of all their doctrinal peculiarities, and if this is done in a spirit of charity and christian brotherhood, will it not promote, rather than prevent, that perfect christian union for which we hope?
Whether this work, which was drawn up at the suggestion of some leading members of our church, is altogether what is needed, the author can hardly dare to hope. He has endeavored to render it as full and comprehensive as possible, and for this purpose, he has availed himself freely of the labors of others. He would particularly refer to the Ecclesiastical Catechisms of Dr. McLeod, of the Rev. Samuel Palmer, and of one published in Ireland, as sources from which he has derived assistance.
It was thought better to err on the side of prolixity, than of brevity; as it was one object of the author to fit the work for private reading, and to make it as satisfactory as possible, on all the leading topics embraced in its design. The teacher can use his discretion in prescribing to his pupils-whether that be in the family, the Bible Class, or the Sabbath School-such portions of it, as he may deem most necessary to be committed to memory. Other portions he may think it sufficient to read with them, and to accompany with his own further explanations; and whenever he may think any answer of too great length to be retained in the memory, he may, after such a reading and examination, require it to be given, in substance, in the language of the pupil.
In the fervent hope that this little work, may lead some of the rising generation to ask for the old paths, that they may walk therein, it committed to the blessing of the Head of the Church by his most unworthy servant,
Charleston, S. C., 1840.