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III. observ Attons UPon
I. DissERTATION con-
cERNING The end For
II. DoctriNE of or IGIN- TIONS.
FIRST AMERIC.A.M. EDITIO.W.
PUBLISHED AT WORCESTER,
ISAAc sq’URTE VANT, PRINTER.
ThrE editions heretofore hublished of the Dissertations,
zhe one concerning the end for which God created the world; and the other, on the Mature of Virtue, which has uniformly been fut with it ; but is filaced in the second volume of this collection, have had firefired to them the following Preface, which, because it contains several just remarks, affilicable as well to the Treatise on Original Sin, as to the Dissertations, it is thought firofler here to insert.
“ The author had designed these dissertations for the hublic view ; and wrote them out as they now afflear: Though it is probable, that if his life had been shared, he would have revised them, and rendered them in some reshects more comfilete. Some new sentiments, here and there, might firobably have been added ; and some fiassages brightened with farther illustrations. This may be conjectured, from some brief hints, or sentiments minuted down, on loose flashers, found in the manuscripts.
“But those sentiments concisely sketched out, which, it is thought, the author intended to enlarge, and digest into the body of the work....cannot be so amfilified by any other hand, as to do justice to the author: It is therefore firobably best that nothing of this kind should be attempted.
“...As these dissertations were more esserially designed for the learned and inquisitive, it is erfected that the judicious and candid will not be disflosed to object that the manner in which these subjects are frated, is something above the level of common readers. For though a suffierficial way of discourse and loose harangues may well enough suit some s ubjects, and answer some valuable flurfioses ; yet other subjects demand more closeness and accuracy. And if an author should neglect to do justice to a sub
ject, for fear that the simfiler sort should not fully understand him, he might exhect to be deemed a trifter by the more intelligent. “Our author had a rare talent to henetrate deep in search of truth ; to take an extensive survey of a subject, and look through it into remote*consequences. Hence many theorems, that appeared hard and barren to others, were to him fleasant and fruitful Jields, where his mind would exhatiate with fleculiar ease, frofit and entertainment. Those studies, which to some were too fatiguing to the mind, and wearing to the constitution, were to him but a natural flaw of genius ; and which his mind, without labor, would freely and sfontaneously fierform. A close and conclusive way of reasoning usion a controversial foint was easy and natural to him. “This may serve, it is conceived, to account for his usual manner of treating abstruse and controverted subjects, which some have thought has been too metasihysical. But the truth is, that his critical method of looking through the nature of his subject ; his accuracy and frecision in canvassing truth, comfaring ideas, drawing conscquences, fointing out and eafiosing absurdities....naturally led him to reduce the evidence in favor of truth into the form of demonstration, Which doubtless, where it can be obtained, is the most eligible, and by far the most satisfying to great and noble minus. And though some readers may find the labor hard, to keef, face with the writer, in the advances he makes, where the ascent is arduous ; yet in general all was easy to him : Such was his fleculiar love and discernment of truth, and natural firoshensity to search after it. His own ideas were clear to him, where some readers have thought them obscure. Thus many things in the works of Mewton and Locke, which afflear either quite unint, lligible, or very obscure to the illiterate, were clear and bright to those illustrious authors, and their learned readers. • The subjects here handled are sublime and important. The end"which God had in view in creating the world, was doubtless worthy of him ; and consequently the most excellent and glorious fossible. This, therefore, must be worthy to be known by all the intelligent creation, as excellent in itself, and worthy of their fursuit. And as true virtue distinguishes the inhabitants of heaven