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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 bave 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 miuds 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 clear my path by using phrases easily understood, and avoiding questions too intricate, and subtleties too refined.
As I do not wish to anticipate any of my conclusions, I forbear to enter into a general view of the principles it is my object to support: For believing the subject to be connected in a chain of reasoning, however loosely in some parts, I have the less reluctance in requesting my reader to follow it, with what patience he may be able to exercise, to the end.
I do not flatter myself that the view I have taken is original; yet I think it, on the whole, important. Neither do I flatter myself, that the inferences I have drawn will be generally received; though I believe them to be founded in Truth. For, some of them seem to be opposed to great authorities; but I have satisfaction in thinking that they are not opposed to the greater authority of Scripture. In reference therefore to the authors with whom I differ-and I am not alone in differing from them—I can feelingly apply the often quoted saying --Amicus Socrates, amicus Plato, sed magis amica Veritas.
TABLE OF CONTENTS.
Sect 1. General view of different writers opi-