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For Reason raise o'er Instiect, as you can;
In this 'tis God directs, in that 'tis man. — Pope,
ably water the one, and destroy the other.—Bacox.
PRINTED AND PUBLISHED BY WILLIAM PHILLIPS, GEORGE YAR)
LOMBARD STREET ;
AND BY W. & c. TAIT, EDINBURGR.
A CONCISE view of the following argument was communicated, about two years since, to a Literary Society. Whether it appeared novel, or the subject was in itself interesting, a request was soon after conveyed to me, that it might be given to the public.
In considering the subject, it was obvious, that it not only admitted of copious illustrations, but that it involved many abstract discussions more adapted to the closet than to the Lecture-room. Accordingly, some of leisure has since been employed in making such an arrangement of facts, illustrations, and reasonings, as, I am induced to think, will present a more clear and consistent view than was contained in the original discourses. I am, notwithstanding, fully aware, that, in its present state, it is not without many imperfections; and yet they appear
to be such, as it is scarcely in my power to remedy. To do justice to an argument of this nature, I need not say, that the most patient thought and undivided attention would be necessary. But the time of professional men, whilst engaged in public duties, in this city, is seldom at their own command: or if any portion be at their command, it is that which the wearied mind claims for its
repose rather than for active thought.
The consequence has been, that I have had many interruptions to any regular plan of study. So that, instead of being able to follow up some of my reasonings closely and methodically, I have often had to lament that they were broken; and subsequently, found it no easy task to resume them. Being, also, under the necessity of seizing opportunities, as they offered, and of writing, often, in a hurried and desultory manner, I fear that I have been led occasionally into some repetitions. Hence, it is possible, that arguments may have been left incomplete, and the same thing may have been expressed over again in different terms. However this may be, when an author comes before the public, urged by whatever motive, he must naturally expect, that his work will be esti
mated according to what it is, and not according to contingencies, which might have tended to make it more or less perfect.
In so far as illustrations from Natural History were necessary to my purpose, I have not scrupled to avail myself freely of the scientific labours of others- I trust, however, with proper acknowledgments. And, though I consider the speculations in the First Part as but secondary and introductory to those in the SECOND, I am aware, that there is a class of readers who will give them the preference. I have therefore studied to make the former more interesting to this class, by a greater number of quotations than I should have otherwise thought necessary.
One object it has been my study to pursue, and that is, the inculcation in the minds of my younger friends, (to whom principally the outline was addressed) of, what I consider, right opinions, or at least, such opinions as agree with the fundamental principles of Revealed Religion. And as an inquiry of this nature could not well be prosecuted without something of what is called metaphysical discussion, wherever I have had occasion to tread upon this uncertain ground, I have endeavoured to