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John Mather Austin
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The Lectures embraced in this volume, were written for the pulpit, in the usual manner of preparation for such labor, without any expectation of their appearing in print. The author is but too sensible that they are imperfect in many features, both in matter and style. It is only in the hope that they will be of some benefit to the class to whom they are addressed, that he has consented to submit them to public perusal. He has aimed at nothing eccentric, odd, or far-fetched; but has sought to utter plain and obvious truths, in a plain and simple manner. There is no class more interesting, and none which has higher claims on the wisdom, experience, and advice, of mature minds, than the young who are about to enter upon the trying duties and responsibilities of active life. Whatever tends to instruct and enlighten them: to point out the temptations which will beset their pathway, and the dire evils which inevitably flow from a life of immorality; whatever will influence them to honesty, industry, sobriety, and religion, and lead them to the practice of these virtues, as "Golden Steps" by which they may ascend to Respectability, Usefulness, and Happiness, must be of benefit to the world. To aid in such a work, is the design of this volume. If it subserves this end - if it becomes instrumental in inciting the youthful to high and pure principles of action, in hedging up the way of sin, and opening the path of wisdom, to any - if it drops but a single good seed into the heart of each of its readers, and awakens the slightest aspiration to morality, usefulness, and religion - it will not have been prepared in vain. With a prayer to God that he would protect and bless the youth of our common country, and prepare them to preserve and perpetuate the priceless legacy of Freedom and Religion, which they will inherit from their fathers, this book is given to the world, to fulfil such a mission as Divine Wisdom shall direct.
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