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Dispositions are said to Symbolize with the Planet of their Nativity.
For this Reason, I believe, it has happened, that these Discourses run more upon a Philosophick Strain, than
any other Compositions of mine do,of this Nature and Character. And I am glad, they do so; not only, because they will afford a more suitable Entertainment to your Lordship’s Contemplative and Philosophick Genius, (if a Person that has so much brighter Thoughts at command of his omn, can be said to be Entertain'd by any thing that comes from so vulgar a Hand,) but also,because,I think, we cannot do better Service to Religion, than by resolving the Practical Duties of it into Principles of Philosophy; or make a better use of PhiloSophick Notions, than to employ them in the Service, and for the Interest of Religion.
How far thefe Ends are served in the Contents of the following Papers, every Reader has now some sort of Right to judge ; but few, I believe, will be found, in any Order or Class of Men, so well qualified to do it, as your Lordship; whose general insight into the whole Compass of Learning, and whose particular Excellency, even to nicety and exactness, in the more refined Theories of Philosophy, are so well known to the World, that they deservedly render you at once the Admiration and the Glory of a nice and inquisitive Age; which is so ingaged in the view of your Personal Excellencies, that your Birth, Quality, and great Station make the least part of your Character, as the Eye is fo filld and taken up
with the Luster of the Sun, as hardly to mind the Height of the Orb from whence it shines.
My Lord, I know not whether such Qualifications as these, make you any whit the fitter for the Patronage of these Discourses, or of the Author of them; mbo may
have too much reason to dread the Severity of fuch a Judge, and whose interest might have ada vised him to seek out for a less judicious Patron, one that was more of a Level with himself. But the great Obligations I am urder to your Lordship, above all other Men, make it my Duty to address my self and my (however mean) Performances to your Lordsaip; which I do with all that Reverential Deferènce which is owing to your Lordship's 2uality and PerSonal Greatness, with all that Modesty and Concerr that ought to accompany fo defective a Present, and with all that Sense of Gratitude which becomes that fingular Favour, wherewith (to the Hazard of your own Judgment) your Lordship has been generously pleased lately to honour,
Obedient and Obliged Servant,
R E A D E R. Y
YOU have here fome of those Thoughts
wherewith I entertain my Solitude, and which have help'd to fill up some of those Jooser Hours which hang upon a Country-Life, and which I think are thus much more accountably spent than in beating about after News, or hold ing tedious and impertinent Chat about StateConcerns. It is my serious and real Judgment that these Discourses both in regard of their Subjects and the manner wherein they are handled, may be fitted for publick Use and Service, and may contribute to improve both the Theory and the Practice of Religion ; and for this Reason I am induced to Communicate them to the Publick. As for any Honour or Reputation that may happen to redound to my self by them, as I hope it was not my governing motive in this Undertaking, fo do I desire to renounce and disclaim it, partly as a thing that is not my Dwe, (for what pretence can a Creature and a Sinner have to any such thing as Glory ?) and partly as too vain and too empty a Good for a Rational Spirit to take up with, especially having so many greater things o inploy both his Thoughts and his Desires
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upon, having a God and a Conscience to whom he may study to approve, and with those well done he may without any great Self-denial, content himself. If therefore my.good Reader, you happen to find here any new Notion discover'd, or any useful and important Truth clear’d, or any Duty of Religion rationally accounted for, or affe&tionately and advantagiously recommended ; if in short, you find either your Head inlightned, or your Heart warmed and put into a quicker Motion, by any thing offer'd to your Confideration in these Discourses, bestow not your Praises or Commendations upon the Author of them, who would not deserve them if he desired them, or dared to take them ; but rather joyn with him in ascribing all the Glory to the great Teacher and Instructer of Mankind, to him who shines upon all our Minds with the Beams of his Divine Light, and informs us (even while we think we instruct one another) in the secret recess of our Reason to him who is the Substantial Wisdom of the Eternal Father, and the Light of all his Creatures, in whom are hid all the Treasures of Wisdom and Knowledge, and who is the true Light that enlightens both you and me, and every Man that comes into the World ; whose is the Kingdom and the Power, and to whom be the Glory. Amen.
The General CONTENTS
A Discourse of the Natural and Moral Union
accrues to it from thence ; upon Pfal. 73. 28.