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ELEMENTS ';

OF

GENERAL KNOWLEDGE,

INTRODUCTORY TO

USEFUL BOOKS IN THE PRINCIPAL BRANCHES

OF

LITERATURE AND SCIENCE.

DESIGNED CHIEFLY FOR THE JUNIOR STUDENTS IN
THE UNIVERSITIES, AND THE HIGHER

CLASSES IN SCHOOLS.

BY HENRY KETT, B. D.
FELLOW AND TUTOR OF TRINITY COLLEGE, OXFORD.

TWO VOLUMES IN ONE.

VOL. I.

BALTIMORE:
PUBLISHED BY P. BYRNE, JUN. AND FOR SALE BY

P. BYRNE, PHILADELPHIA.

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THE following work contains the substance of a Course of Lectures, which I have occasionally read to my pupils, during the last twelve years. The satisfaction which they expressed on hearing them has encouraged me to hope, that they will not prove unacceptable to those, for whose use they are now made public.

To assert a claim to originality in such a work as this would perhaps only be equivalent to a confession of its demerit. My pretensions to public regard must depend in no small degree upon the manner in which I have clothed old ideas in a new dress, and upon my skill in compressing within a moderate compass the substance of large and voluminous works. Upon all my subjects I have endeavoured to reflect light from every quarter which my reading would afford. My references will show the sources from which I have derived my principal information ; but it would be almost an endless, and perhaps a very ostentatious task, to enumerate all my literary obligations.

There are a few topics indeed, with respect to which I think I may be allowed to assert some claims to novelty. For many of my remarks on the Greek Language I am indebted principally to my own observations upon its nature and comparative merits ; the History of Chivalry, important as the influence of that remarkable institution has been upon manners, is a subject upon which I have not been able to collect much information from English authors ; and the History of the Revival of Classical Learning, although a topic of the strongest interest to every man of letters, has never been fully treated by any writer, with whose works I am acquainted.

Many of my Quotations are selected from such works, as, either from their size, number of volumes,

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iv

or scarceness, do not frequently come within the reach of

young men. If some of them are borrowed from more obvious and popular works, their peculiar beauty, strength, and appositeness, it is presumed, will justify their introduction. But elegant as my quotations may be in point of style, conclusive as to reasoning, or striking as to the impression they are calculated to make; they will not completely answer the intended purpose, if, while they raise a high opinion of the merit of their authors, they do not excite an eager curiosity to peruse more of their works.

If I should be fortunate enough to succeed in procuring for eminent writers any additional degree of regard; if I should excite a more ardent and more active attention to any branches of useful knowledge ; and if the variety of my topics should contribute to diffuse more widely the light of general information and useful truth; I shall have the satisfaction to reflect that my time has not been sacrificed to a frivolous purpose by thus endeavouring, in conformity with the occupations of the most valuable portion of my life, to instruct the rising generation. TRINITY COLLEGE, OXFORD,

May 12, 1802.

ADVERTISMENT

TO THE FOURTH EDITION.

The increasing demand for my work calls upon me for adequate endeavours to merit the public approba. tion. I have therefore revised the whole, and made some useful alterations and additions.

TRINITY COLLEGE, OXFORD,

May 20, 1803.

VOL. I.

INTRODUCTORY CHAPTER.

The design of the work. The various branches of literature and science considered with reference to young men in the higher classes of life, as they are, I. Christians ; II. as Students, who enjoy the advantages of a liberal education; III. as Members of the British constitution. The consideration of these important relations in which they stand to society, has suggested the choice of the following subjects. The pursuit of them, carried to such an extent as is compatible with due attention to professional studies, is calculated to improve the faculties of the mind, to inform the understanding, strengthen the judgment, engage the memory in an agreeable exercise, and prepare a young man for the best performance of his various duties in life. P. 18.

CLASS I.

RELIGION.

CHAP. I.

THE CHRISTIAN RELIGION,

The reasonableness of instructing children in the principles of religion at an early age. The superior excellence of Christian knowledge. Six of the leading proofs of the truth of Christianity stated. I. Authenticity of the books of the New Testament. II. The character of our Lord and Saviour. JII. The prophecies of which he was the subject, and those which he pronounced. IV. His miracles. V. His precepts, or Christian ethics. .VI. The rapid and extensive propagation of the gospel at its first preaching, under circumstances the most hostile to its

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success.

CHAP. II.

THE SUBJECT CONTINUED.

Reasons why the doctrines and precepts of Christianity have been attacked by infidels of all ages. Their cavils shown to be weak, and their arguments proved to be inconclusive. The character and conduct of modern infidels furnish additional evidence to the truth of Christianity, as they are plainly foretold in scripture. Genuine Christianity has produced the happiest effects upon the opinions, conduct, and institutions of mankind. I was darkened by superstition, and interinixed with error by the Papists, but was refined and brought back more nearly to the apostolical standard by the reformation, particularly by the Protestant establishment of the Church of England. Summary of the sublime truths of Christianity. It comprehends the last revelation of the divine will to mankind; establishes the certainty of a future state; reconciles man to the dispensations of Providence, and qualifies him by a life of faith and obedience for the rewards of eternity.

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