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Christian practice. And if what I now humbly offer to your Lordship's patronage, shall, by God's blessing, meet with any measure of success, it will so far contribute to the good issue of their labours, who are engaged the other way.
And truly we are all now concerned in the highest manner to do our utmost to defend and support our holy religion, which is so violently assaulted on all sides ; and if we do so, we may hope that the great Disposer of all things will in time bring good out of evil, and make that barefaced (and yet, alas ! unpunished) opposition to our common Christianity, which we cannot but sadly lament, a means more firmly to establish it, and to unite more closely all those that heartily desire its prosperity.
Which blessed day that we may at length be so happy as to see, and that passion and prejudice and private interest may give place to the public good; as it is the prayer of every good Christian, so of none more sincerely and earnestly than of him, who, with all dutiful respect and reverence, is,
and obedient Servant,
FRANCIS BRAGGE. TO THE READER.
ALL that I have to say by way of preface to the following book, is only very briefly to give account in what manner I treat of the subject of it. And that is, first, not as is usual in a system of ethics, where so many derivative passions use to be enumerated, as confound them with the virtues and the vices; but only so far as answers to the just notion of passions, (the due government of which it is that makes them virtues, and their exorbitancy vices,) and which are but few in num. ber, and strictly no more than I have here particularly discoursed of: nor, secondly, do I pretend to give a natural history of them, and shew how they put our blood and spirits into that extraordinary commotion which attends them, and how that commotion affects our minds, which hath been ingeniously attempted by Cartesius and others : nor, thirdly, do I discourse of them in a rigid, stoical, or a loose, declamnatory way, which usually leaves the reader as wise and good as it finds him, or it may be not so well : but in that plain, inartificial, and serious manner, which becomes a subject of this great moment and importance, and is agreeable to our holy religion, and that most perfect moral system the sacred scriptures, and so as may best conduce to our due government of those passions and affections, whose rebellion is the cause of so much misery to mankind : that is, in short, I have endeavoured to make the treatise answer the title of it; and if it shall prove instrumental, through the Divine blessing, in influencing their practice that peruse it, I shall have what I desire.
C Ο Ν Τ Ε Ν Τ S
CHAP. I. Of the regulation of the passions in general. I. Of the nature of the passions, and when irregular .... P. i II. How the passions are to be regulated by us
3 III. Of the usefulness of them when duly regulated..
Of the regulation of love.
III. How necessary to our happiness it is to do so
Of the regulation of self-love. 1. What is meant by ourselves, and what by self-love in
general II. How self-love is to be regulated with respect to our
bodies III. How the love of our souls ought to be regulated