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exquisite nature, and in which felicity might be more reasonably expected, are entirely neglected or forgotten. This is the effect of a vitiated taste which has precipitated thousands into inextricable difficulties, and into which it had nearly hurried my fair corres pondent, of whom some account will be found in the following Introduction, and to whom the Letters subjoined are addressed.
To him who is conscious of danger and anxious for help, deliverance must be acceptable. This was once the situation of the amiable Lavinia. Her importunate entreaties could not be heard with indifference— she was directed to the REFUGE where protection was known to be certain; and where she not only found security, but the rest and the happiness she wanted.
To this impression of the Refuge, some additions have been made, which, though not extensive, may perhaps be thought deserving of regard. The whole work has indeed been attentively examined; and, if compared with the former edition, will be found, in many places, to have undergone alterations intended to give precision to thought, and energy to truth. The author is, however, far from imagining that the labour of revision will preclude the use of criticism. Perfection is not attainable by man. But if what
has been done, shall have any tendency to promote purity of sentiment, or rectitude of conduct: to honour the gospel of God, or to facilitate the happiness of man, the time devoted to this purpose will not have been spent in vain.
Of all the passions that agitate the human mind,
there is perhaps no one more grateful in itself, or more useful to man, than sympathy.
Virtue in distress is sure to attract notice and excite commiseration. The sufferings of others, it is true, cannot be witnessed without painful emotions; but these emotions we neither wish to suppress, nor attempt to diminish: for such is the wonderful construction of our nature, and such the delightful tendency of this passion, that instead of endeavouring to avoid, we take pleasure in approaching the object of misery. The ear is open to the cry of calamity; the tale of woe is heard with melting tenderness; we instantly participate the grief; we mingle sigh with sigh, tear with tear, and wish, anxiously wish, to alle
viate, if we cannot remove, the cause of inquietude.
To sympathy we are indebted for a thousand endearments in social life: it is the bond of society: we feel ourselves interested in the general good; we experience more pleasure in communicating than in receiving the means of happiness; and in contemplating its benign influence, perceive both the propriety and the excellency of that divine aphorism-It is more blessed to give than to receive.
But though such be the general tendency of this benevolent affection, there are objects of wretchedness, on which the world has no compassion to bestow. Men whose consciences are burdened with guilt, and harassed with painful apprehensions respecting futurity, seldom meet with sympathetick tenderness. But how are we to account for the dereliction of human nature in this case? Is not the anguish arising from a consciousness of moral turpitude equally pungent with that which the loss of terrestrial comforts may incidentally occasion? Surely the cause of