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JOHN LOCKE, ESQ.
I. Of the Conduct of the Understanding.
II. An Examination of P. Malebranche's Opinion of seeing all Things in God.
III. A Discourse of Miracles.
IV. Part of a fourth Letter for Toleration.
V. Memoirs relating to the Life of Antony, first Earl of Shaftesbury.
*This letter, to preserve a connexion of the subject, is in this edition carried to the former three Letters on Toleration, in the sixth volume.
THE ensuing treatises are true and genuine remains of the deceased author, whose name they bear; but, for the greatest part, received not his last hand, being, in a great measure, little more than sudden views, intended to be afterwards revised and farther looked into; but by sickness, intervention of business, or preferable inquiries, happened to be thrust aside, and so lay neglected.
The "conduct of the understanding" he always thought to be a subject very well worth consideration. As any miscarriages, in that point, accidentally came into his mind, he used sometimes to set them down in writing, with those remedies that he could then think of. This method, though it makes not that haste to the end which one could wish, yet, perhaps, is the only one that can be followed in the case; it being here, as in physic, impossible for a physician to describe a disease, or seek remedies for it, till he comes to meet with it. Such particulars of this kind as occurred to the author, at a time of leisure, he, as is before said, set down in writing; intending, if he had lived, to have reduced them into order and method, and to have made a complete treatise; whereas now it is only a collection of casual observations, sufficient to make men see some faults in the conduct of their understanding, and suspect there may be more; and may, perhaps, serve to excite others to inquire farther into it than the author hath done.
The Examination of P. Malebranche's Opinion, of seeing all Things in God, shows it to be a very groundless notion, and was not published by the author, because he looked upon it to be an opinion that would not spread, but was like to die of itself, or at least to do no great harm.
The Discourse of Miracles was writ for his own satisfaction, and never went beyond the first draught, and was occasioned by his reading Mr. Fleetwood's Essay on Miracles, and the letter writ to him on that subject.
The Fourth Letter for Toleration is imperfect, was begun by the author a little before his death, but never finished. It was designed for an answer to a book entitled, A Second Letter to the Author of the Three Letters for Toleration, &c. which was writ against the author's Third Letter for Toleration, about twelve years after the said Third Letter had been published.
The Memoirs of the late Earl of Shaftesbury are only certain particular facts, set down in writing by the author, as they occurred to his memory: if time and health would have permitted him, he had gone on farther, and from such materials have collected and compiled a history of that noble peer.