« السابقةمتابعة »
will not allow themselves to be decoyed into the regions of fancy. They whose minds are deeply embued with polite literature, are not at home unless they be conducted into the same school. There are some elevated geniuses too towering to pace the earth, which, in their aërial progress through the heavens, count, measure, and weigh the stars, as more suited to their inclination. Others look back into ancient times, fond of antiquarian research, and no matter how homely in itself an object may be, if identified with
it is a prize above all others most valuable. Some are involved in political discussions, the rise and fall of states and empires, bestowing the mead of praise, or inflicting the lash of censure, on statesmen and events. While others, comparing the brevity of human life with the duration of eternity, examining their own personal responsibility and the doctrine of a future recompence, and balancing spiritual gain with the avarice of the miser, view religious principles and actions as the grand climax in the excursive range of their understanding and choice.
The Author cannot, with certainty, conjecture how far his present work will meet the views and gratify the intellectual taste of the generality of readers ; but he can assure them, that in writing it he has anxiously endeavoured to elicit truth, and constantly aimed at a development of it. He considers truth as above all things to be desired, and has not knowingly deviated from her hallowed path. If a keener eye should discover any wanderings, he shall rejoice to be conducted into the right way. He is well aware that the brief method in which he has treated his subjects, must of consequence involve a partial obscurity; though, by some, this will be preferred before a tedious prolixity. And the extent of his ministerial labours
form a sufficient basis on which to , rest an apology, for this condensation of materials, which would seem to be capable of a much larger extension.
The following pages had their origin in a train of thought which suddenly entered into the mind of the Author, while on one occasion, in the course of a morning's ride, passing in view of a country Parish Church. Previously,
he had no intention of writing a work of this nature: but such was the impression then made upon his mind, that on his return to his study, he sat down and wrote what constituted the foundation of the present work. Such as it is, he now commends it to the candour of a discerning and indulgent public, soliciting the blessing of Almighty God to render it useful.
March 31, 1825.