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.. . HOR: ?
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HARRISBURGH-Printed and sold by John WYETK
ASTOR, LENOX AND
TILDEN FOUNDATIONS OF VOLUME FIRST.
THE following little Essays, were drawn up ma
I ny years ago, partly as helps to moral and divine conference, in a religious society, and partly as the result of such conferences. They are generala ly the result of free, and pretty enlarged and comprehensive meditations on the subjects they treat of, and consist of such thoughts as occurred first and most obviously to the open mind, in its free and unfettered discursions on said subjects ;....and they were meant merely as hints to start the conversation, and to keep it alive, and to the business in hand, that it might not deviate into wild and impertinent digressions.
This will account for the nature and form of the Essays, which are very singular and uncommon. They consist of a number of loose, general, and of ten, unconnected aphorisms, or general maxims, commonly closed by some practical corollaries or in. ferences of the greatest moment.
The primitive design of them, was to convey the most ampie, general instruction to the mind on every -subject treated of; yet so, as that instruction might' exhaust the subject in miniature, as it were, or, in the narrowest compass consistent with perspicuity ;...and that the method of explaining the subjects should be calculated, as much as possible, for affecting the heart by proper motives, and stirring up men to the diligent practice of the virtues and duties explained. And I hope the judicious and intelligent Christian reader will find, upon an attentive perusal of the Essays themselves, that they are not ill adapted to this purpose ; excepting, perhaps, a few, which are more superficial than the rest.
It had been easy to have filled up the skeletons of doctrine, and lengthened them out to the ordinary size of pulpit discourses. In this form they would have had, doubtless, many advantages which they are now necessarily deprived of: In this form, they would have admitted of connexion, argumentation, illustration, persuasion, pathos and all the graces and beauties of fine composition; whereas, their present form necessarily precludes these advantages.