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There is no one to whom I can with more fitness and propriety dedicate these Volumes than to you. I have uniformly, since I had the pleasure of your acquaintance, received the most kind and friendly attentions at your hands ; and poor and inadequate as is the tribute of regard here tendered, I feel confident you will accept it, as a grateful token of esteem, from a humble but I trust a sincere admirer of your great moral worth and truly Christian character.
The ability, zeal, and genuine benevolence, with which you have hitherto discharged the duties of your pastoral office
in this place, as well as the consideration of the great benefits which have resulted to a numerous and affectionate flock, from the conscientious discharge of these duties, induce me to express an ardent wish that you may long be spared to pursue your highly useful and important labours ; and may continue to receive, in return, not only the cheering testimonies of a good conscience, but the grateful acknowledgments of those for whose temporal and everlasting welfare you feel so deep an interest.
My dear Sir,
Yours, most sincerely,
MORPETH, March 18, 1833.
In presenting this work to the public, I have been influenced principally by a desire to give to the general reader, and the student of moral philosophy, a condensed and correct outline of the leading theories of moral duty, which are either in common circulation in our seminaries of learning, or are referred to in the writings of our most popular theoretic moralists. I have heard it frequently stated by those who have gone through a prescribed course of lectures on moral science, that though they were made acquainted with the names of several of the principal writers, and heard their moral opinions developed and commented on ; yet the limited space of a course of lectures could not furnish them with an adequate conception of the nature and extent of the theories brought under notice, nor with any thing relating to the authors by whom they were framed. Students, for example, might hear the names of Hobbes, or Clarke, or Wollaston, or Mandeville mentioned, but they would have but a very imperfect knowledge of the moral speculations of these authors.
It has been, therefore, my aim to supply, in some measure, the want of information arising out of the circumstances already mentioned; and as far as possible to make this publication embrace two objects—that of conveying useful and agreeable instruction to the general reader, and to supply those who have to go through a course of lectures on moral philosophy, with a compendious outline of all the leading topics of discussion which
be brought under their notice. How far I have succeeded in accomplishing this twofold design, I must leave the public at large to determine.
In entering on the examination of the various systems which I have noticed, two courses seemed to present themselves for me to follow. The one, to criticise each theory as it came under review, in order to show how it either agreed or differed from