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ced seven or eight pages in a week; and sometimes it lay by without growth like a vegetable in the winter, and did not increase half so much in the revolution

of a year.

As chefe thouglits occurred to me in reading or meditation, or in my notices of the various appearances of things among mankind, they were thrown under those heads which makes the present titles of the chapters,and were by degrees reduced to something like a method, such as the subject would adoit.

On these accounts it is not to be expected that the fame accurate order thould be observed either in the whole bock, or in the particular chapters thereof, which is necessary in the system of any science, whose scheme is projected at once. A book which has been twenty years a writing, may be indulged in some variety of style and manner, though I hope there will not be found any great difference of sentiment; for wherein I had improved in later years beyond what I had firit written, a few dashes and alterations have corrected the mistakes. And if the candour of the reader will but allow what is defective in one place to be fupplied by additions from another, I hope there will be found a fufficient reconciliation of what might seem at first to be scarcely confiftent.

The language and dress of these sentiments is such as the present temper of mind di&ated, whether it were grave or pleasant levere or smiling. If there has been any thing expressed with too much feverity, I suspect it will be found to fall upon those sneering or daring writers of the age against religion, and against the Chrifian scheme, who seemed to have left reason, or de. cency, or both, behind them in some of their writings:

The same apology of the length of years in composing this book may serve also to excuse a repetition of the same sentiments which may happen to be found in different places without the author's design; but in other pages it was intended, so that those rules for the conduct of the understanding which are molt necessary,

should be set in several lights, that they migiit with more frequent and more force impress the soul. I shall be suffickently satisfied with the good humour and lenity of my readers, if they will please to regard these papers as parcels of imperfect sketches, which were designed by a sudden pencil, and in a thousand leisure moments, to be one day collected into landskips of some little prospects in the regions of learning, and in the world of coinnon life, pointing out the fairest and most fruit. ful spots, as well as the rocks and wildernesses, and faithless inorafles of the country. But I feel age

ad. vancing upon me, and my health is insufficient to perfect what I had defigned, to increase and amplify these remarks, to comfirm and improve these rules, and to illuminate the several pages with a richer and more beautiful variety of examples. The subject is almost endless, and new writers in the present and in fol. lowing ages may still find sufficient follies, weaknesles and dangers among inankind, to be represented in sucia a manner as to guard youih against them.

These hints, such as they are, I hope may be rendered some way useful to persons in younger years, who will favour them with a perusai, and who would seek the cultivation of their own understandings in the early days of life. Perhaps they may find something here which may awake a latent genius, and direc the studies of a willing mind. Perhaps it may point out to a ftudent now and then, what may employ the most usea ful labours of his thoughts, and accelerate his diligence in the most momentous inquiries. Perhaps a sprightly youth may here meet with something to guard or warn him against mistakes, and withhold him at other times from those pursuits which are like to be fruitless and disappointing.

Let it be obferved also, that in ourage several of the ladies pursue science with succels; and others of them are desirous of improving their reason even in common affairs of life, as well as the men : yet the cha. racters which are here drawn occasionally, are almost universally applied to one sex; but if any of the other shall find a character which suits them, they may, by a small change of the termination, apply and affume it in themselves, and accept the instruction, the admoni. tion, or the applause which is defigned in it.

There is yet another thing which it is neceffary my reader should be informed of; but whether he will call it fortunate cr unhappy, I know not. It is fufficiently evident that the book consists of two parts: The firt lays down remarks and rules how we may attain useful knowledge ourselves; and the second, how we may beft communicate it to others. These were both designed to be printed in this volume; but a manuscript which hath been near twenty years in hand, may be easily supposed to allow of such difference in the hand-writing, so many lines altered, so many things interlined, and many paragraphs and pages here and there inserted, that it was not easy to compute the number of sheets that it would make in print: and it now appears, that the remarks and rules about the communication of knowledge being excluded here, they must be left to another volume ; wherein will be contained various observations relating to methods of instruction, the style and manner of it, the way of convincing other persons, of guarding youth against prejudices of treating and managing the prejudices of men, of the use and abuse of authority, of education, and of the various things in which children and youth fhonld be instructed, of their proper business and divtrüons, and of the degrees of liberty and restraint therein, &c. Of all which I had unce designed a more complete treatise ; but my years advancing, I now despair to finish it.

The essays or chapters on these subjects being already written, if I am favoured with a tolerable degree of health, will be put to the press, when the favourable acceptance of this first part shall give sufficient encouragement to proceed.

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