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A HE Conductors of the Eclectic Review are not strangers to the anxious sensations with which a literary work, especially if deemed of importance, is usually presented to the public: but, in the present instance, these are mitigated by a consciousness of the upright, benevolent, and disinterested motives, in which fchis undertaking origfoated.'•'''Tjhe cordial expressions of approbation and good will, and the liberal offers of support, which have been received from various quarters, since the circulation of the Prospectus, dissipate every apprehension that the workmi"ht fail through want of a general concern for its success: while the zealous co-operation of individuals, eminent for literary attainments and respectability of character, encourages our hope, that the execution will prove worthy of the design, and of the expectations which have been raised of its utility.
On this" subject, however, it is the judgement of the Public which must, and which ought to decide. To that final and impartial tribunal the commencement of the work is cheerfully submitted; but not without a confidence, that its progress will be marked by considerable improvements. The object proposed will, however, be unalterable—public utility—utility of the highest kind—The advancement of general happiness, by the establishment of just principles of conduct. This, surely, is the most important purpose for which Literature can be employed; and no exertion can be deemed too great for its attainment. Even
failure in the attempt is not inglorious: In magnis volume, sat est.
i Both the plan and the principles of our Review are indicated by its Title. No other than that of Eclectic, would have been equally appropriate. Sound was, therefore, sacrificed to sense: a sense, which the English motto, subjoined to the title, sufficiently explains. As, however, objections to our choice have been started, it seems necessary to premise some account of the origin of the term, which, at the same time, will illustrate the principles adopted for the conduct of the work.
Diogenes Laertius, who (probably in the second century of the Christian Era) compiled memoirs of eminent philosophers, remarks, at the close of his Proeme, that " a certain Eclectic Sect had recently been introduced by Potamon of Alexandria;" and that this Sect was so called, because it <e selected from every other philosophical class whatever was best approved,"
To this circumstance, Clement of Alexandria, a celebrated Christian Father, appears to refer in the following passage of his Stromata, lib. I. (e By Philosophy, I do not mean the system of the Stoic, or the Platonic, the Epicurean, or the Aristotelian; but, every thing which has been justly maintained by any of these Sects, and which, by religious instruction, inculcates rectitude of manners; this Eclectic aggregate, I term Philosophy."
The good, the wise, and the great, of every age, have evir dently adopted the same principle. Out of numerous instances that might be cited, none, perhaps, will be more suitable, or more generally acceptable, than the character of Dr. Jeremy Taylor, Bishop of Dromore, as described in his Funeral Sermon, by Dr. Rust, his successor in that See,
"He was one of the Ekaektikoi," says his Right Reverend eulogist, " a sort of brave philosophers that Laertius speaks of, that did not addict themselves to any particular Sect, but ingeniously sought for Truth among all the wrangling schools. This was the . spirit of that great man; he weighed men's reasons, and not their names; and was not scared with the ugly visors men usually put upon persons they dislike. He considered, that it is not Jikely any one party should wholly engross Truth to themselves; that obedience is the only way to knowledge; that God always, and only, teaches docile and ingenuous minds, that are willing to hear, and ready to obey according to their light. Such considerations as these made him impartial in his disquisitions, and give a due allowance to the reasons of his adversary, and contend for Truth, and not for Victory."
Such are the intentions of the Conductors and Supporters of the Eclectic Review. Neither excluding nor admitting indiscriminately the sentiments of any party, religious or political, nor aiming at innovation, they select from all whatever appears to them to be sanctioned by reason, experience, and revelation. That the public might not doubt of our political and religious senti. ments, we have avowed our cordial approbation both of the leading principles of the British Constitution, which happily combines the advantages of Monarchy, Aristocracy, and Democracy; and of the Doctrinal Articles of the Church of England, which we conceive to be congenial with those of the Kirk of Scotland, of the principal Churches of Europe and America, and of a vast majority of those-Secessions which have arisen wherever Britons have dwelt. In every Communion, and under every civil Government, we rejoice to meet with tenets which we heartily approve, and can honestly applaud. Things, in which lye differ from each other, we agree to leave undecided.