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THE design of this translation, is to present to those who are not familiar with the language of the original, a work, no less recommended by the interesting nature of its subject, than by its intrinsic merits, and the high reputation of its author. Although one of his earliest productions, it was the means of introducing him to the notice of Louis XIV., by whom, soon after its publication, he was appointed preceptor to the Duke of Burgundy. The moral transformation effected in the character of this young Prince, while under the instructions of Fenelon, affords at once the most convincing evidence of the admirable talent of his instructor, and of the mighty influence of a well-conducted education. It is, therefore, natural to suppose, that a work on this subject, from one whose opinions have, in so remarkable a degree, the sanction of suc
cessful experiment, would be extensively circulated, and perused with no common avidity.
The Treatise here presented to the public, discloses a complete system of education, at once philosophic in its principles, and practical in its details; evincing the most profound knowledge of the human heart, united with original and comprehensive views of the nature and objects of education. Nor are the principles here laid down by any means so limited in their applica tion, as the title of the work may seem to indicate. It may be asserted with confidence, that no one, intrusted with the responsible charge of guiding the youthful mind, can peruse it, without deriving important advantage. Especially is it desirable, that, in promoting the religious interests of the young,-a task, the delicacy of which is seldom sufficiently felt,-the method here developed of rendering scriptural knowledge attractive, should be extensively introduced.
Those passages in the original, which, from their reference to doctrines and ceremonies peculiar to the church of Rome, would be, to many readers, either unintelligible, or productive of erroneous impressions, are here omitted. It is no slight evidence of the exalted genius and
rational piety of the Archbishop of Cambray, that though a prelate of the Catholic Church in the 17th century, he has left in his numerous writings so few sentiments in the least degree uncongenial with a purer religion and a more enlightened age.
In different parts of this work, especially in the first and twelfth chapters, a few passages occur, doubtless more appropriate to the circumstances of the time when it was written, than to the present period; these, however, are generally retained, from the wish to impair, as little as possible, the fidelity of translation.
W. C. D.