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HE ensuing Treatise is
Name of the Author, and needs nothing else to inake way for its Entertaininent. I fall only therefore give a short Account of these Remains of that Learned and Excellent Person, and of the particular Design and Intention of them.
He was pleased by his Last Will to coinmit his Papers to my Care; and out of his great Friendship, and undeserved good Opinion of me,to leave it wholly to my Dif
posal, whether any, or what part of them, should be inade publick. This Treatise,Iknew,he always defigned for that purpose; and if God had been pleased to have granted him but a little longer Life, he would have published it himfelf: And therefore, though a considerable Part of it wanted his last Hand, yet neither could I be so injurious, to deprive the World of it, because it was less perfect than he intended it ; nor durst I be so bold, to attempt to finish a Piece designed and carried on fo far by fo great a Master.
The first Twelve Chapters were written cut for the Press in þiş Life-time. The Remainder hạth been gather'd and made up out of his Papers, as well as the Materials left for that purpose, and theSkill of the Compiler would allow : So that it cannot be expected, that the Work should be of equal
Strength and Beauty in all the Parts of it. However, such as it is, I hope it may prove of confiderable use and benefit to the World, and not altogether unworthy of its Author.
The Design of it is Three-fold.
First, To establish the great Principles of Religion, the Being of God, and a Future State; by shewing how firm and solid a Foundation they have in the Nature and Reason of Mankind : A Work never more necessary than in this ; degenerate Age, which hath been so miserably over-run with Scepticism and Infidelity.
Secondly, To convince Men of the natural and indispensable Obligation of Moral Duties; those I mean, which are comprehended by our Saviour under the Two General Heads of the Love of God.
and of our Neighbour. For all tho great Duties of Piety and Justice are written upon our Hearts, and every Man feels a secret Obligation to them in his own Conscience, which checks and reftrains hiin from doing contrary to them, and gives him Peace and Satisfaction in the Discharge of his Duty; or in case hę offend against it, fills him with Guilt and Terror.
And certainly it is a Thing of very considerable use, rightly to understand the natural Obligation of moral Duties, and how necessarily they flow from the Confideration of God and of ourselves. For it is a great Mistake, to think that the Obligation of them doth folely depend upon the Revelation of God's Will made to us in the Holy Scriptures. It is plain that Mankind was always under a Law, even before Gid had made any