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Thirty-six years ago the first Number of the "youth's Instructer" issued from the press. The Editor then said that it was intended, "not, indeed, for little children, (as the subjects it embraces prove sufficiently,) but for young persons who have advanced beyond the rudiments of their own language, and the use of monosyllables, and have begun to feel, and think, and judge; to estimate the force and beauty of correct and genuine sentiment, and to appreciate the value and importance of religious truth."
More than a generation has passed away since the sentence now quoted appeared in the first preface; and although the object of this Periodical continues to be substantially the same, and although, with unabated earnestness, we desire that our readers may rightly estimate correct and elevated sentiment, and appreciate the value and importance of religious truth, its form and style have undergone considerable change. The youth of England are not at this day what they then were. They have not merely advanced beyond rudiments and monosyllables, but are making progress, with unprecedented rapidity, amidst advantages of an education that, in
Vol. XVI. Second Series. a
some points, is incomparably superior to that of their fathers. Our own views, too, are more extended. We have all been convinced that not even childhood is to be treated childishly, and have long learned, by a yet stronger reason, that the young man is not only competent to understand the best and wisest things that can be said to him, but that his good sense, culture, and energy demand that the choicest productions of literature, and results of science, should be laid before him. The small size of this Periodical prevents, indeed, such a provision for this class of readers as we would fain attempt; but it does not prevent us from abiding by the higher standard in our historical, biblical, literary, and scientific articles. An enlarged circulation, and the accession of new -and valued contributors, combine to assure us that, in endeavouring to elevate the character of this publication, and to render this character more and more distinctive, we have not been mistaken.
Enemies of evangelical Christianity have long been busy in corrupting the literature of this country, and in stealthily pervading even the manuals of daily study with principles utterly opposed to the common faith of Great Britain. History is falsified. Miscellaneous literature is abused by the Jesuit and the infidel. Natural science itself, if it cannot also be falsified, is often made the occasion and the vehicle of intellectual perversion. It therefore becomes the duty of all who take part in the publication of religious periodicals to do just the contrary, by sanctifying what others would