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Entered, according to Act of Congress, in the year 1840, by
JoHNson has been styled “the giant of English literature;” and, considering the vast extent and variety of his erudition, the brilliancy and solidity of his genius, and his singular power and elegance as a writer, this title of pre-eminence would seem justly to belong to him. He is likewise familiarly known under the appellation of “the great English moralist :” a still more illustrious distinction; inasmuch as it is not only expressive of his intellectual superiority, but of his devotedness and success as the champion of truth and virtue. It is principally in this latter character, as the uncompromising foe of all that is vicious and wrong, and the zealous and able advocate of whatever is pure in morals or sacred in religion, that the Essays here offered to the public will be found to present their author.
From such a writer as Johnson, whose productions are so various, and all distinguished by just and profound thought, and polished to the highest point of elegance in diction, it is a task of no small