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HAVING, for fome years, by circum

stances of a particular nature, known

to my Friends, but of no importance to the Publick, been hindered from executing those more extensive plans of Moral Speculation, which I once projected; and being averse and unaccustomed to idleness; I thought I might amuse myself, in a way not wholly unprofitable to others, by transcribing and correcting certain papers, written a good while ago; which several perfons, who had read them, were pleased to approve, and had advised me to publish. Some of these are contained

contained in these volumes: others may poffibly appear hereafter. They were at first compofed in a different form: being part of a Course of Prelections, read to those Young Gentlemen, whom it is my bufinefs

to initiate in the Elements of Moral Science. This, I hope, will account for the plainnefs of the ftyle; for the frequent introduction of practical and ferious obfervations; for a more general ufe of the pronouns I and You than is perhaps quite proper in difcourfes addreffed to the publick; and for a greater variety of illuftration, than would have been requifite, if my hearers had been of riper years, or more accuftomed to abftract inquiry.

I have been defired to publish the whole fyftem of Lectures: but am prevented by many confiderations; and by this in particular,

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cular, that fuch a work would be too voluminous, for my ability to perform, and for the patience of the Publick to endure. I therefore give only a few detached pasfages; and I beg they may be confidered as feparate and diftinct Effays.

The Reader will be disappointed, if he expect to find in this book any nice metaphyfical theories, or other matters of doubtful difputation. Such things the Author is not unacquainted with: but they fuit not his ideas of Moral Teaching; and he has laid them afide long ago. His aim is, to inure young minds to habits of attentive obfervation; to guard them against the influence of bad principles; and to fet before them fuch views of nature, and fuch plain and practical truths, as may at once improve

prove the heart and the understanding, and amuse and elevate the fancy.

In the Differtation on Language there are indeed fome abstruse inquiries, that may seem to have little of a practical tendency. But the subtilties infeparable from that part of science are not, even in the early part of life, hard to be understood, when explained in a simple style, and with a due regard to the gradual expanfion of the human intellect. To which I may add, that a philofophical examination of the principles of grammar is a moft profitable exercise to the mental powers of young people; and promotes, more perhaps than any other study within their fphere, clearness of apprehenfion, and correctness of language.

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