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reng When an Authór, by appearing in print, requests an audience of the Public;' and is upon the point of speaking for himself, whoever presumes to step before him with a preface, and to say, "Nay, but hear me first," should have something worthy of attention to offer, or he will justly be deemed officious and impertinent. The judicious reader has probably, upon orher occasious, been beforehand with me in this reflection : and I am hot very willing it should not be applied to me, however I niay seem to expose myself to the danger' of it. But the thought of having my own name perpetuated in connexions with the same in the title page, is fo pleasing and flattering to the feelings of my heart, that I am content to risk something for the gratification,
This Preface is not designed to contintend the Poems 'to which it is prefixed. My testimony would be insufficient for thost; who are not qualified to judge properly for themselves, and unne cessary to those, who are. Besides the reasons, which renderit improper and unseemely for a man
to celebrate his own performances, or those of his nearest relatives, will have some influence in suppressing much of what he might otherwise wish to say in favour of a friend, when that friend is indeed an alter idem, and excites almost the same emotions of sensibility and affection, as he feels for himself.
It is very probable these Poems may come into the hands of some persons, in whom - the sight of ibie author's name will awaken a recollection of incidents and scenes, which through length of time they had almost forgotten. They will be reminded of one, who was once the companion of their chosen hours, and who set put with them in early life in the paths, which lead to literary honours, to influence and affluence, with equal prospects of success. But he was suddenly and powerfully withdrawn from those pursuits, and he left them without regret ; yet not till he had sufficient opportunity of counting the cost, and of knowing the yalue of what he gave up. If happiness could have been found in classical attaią. ments, in an elegant taste, in the exertions of wit, fancy, and genius, and in the esteem and converse of such persons, as in these respects were most congenial with himself, he would have been happy. But he was, pot-He wondered (as thousands in a similar situation still do) that he should continue dissatisfied, with all the means - appa, rently conducive to satisfaction within his reach. But in due time the cause of his disappoint
ment was discovered to bim--He had lived without God in the world. In a memorable hour the wisdom which is from above visited bis heart. Then he felt himself a wanderer, and then he found a guide. Upon this change of views, a change of plan and conduct followed of course. When he saw the busy and the gay world in its true light, he left it with as
as little reluctance as a prisoner, when called to liberty, leaves his dans geon. Not that he became a Cynic or an Ascetic; -a heart blled with love to God, will assuredly breathe benevolence to men. ; . But the tạra of his temper inclining him to rural life, he in, dulged it, and the providence of God, evidently preparing his way and marking out his retreat, he retired into the country. By these steps the good band of God, unkuown: to me, was pro viding for me one of the principal blessings of my life; a friend and a counsellor, in whose company,
for almost seven years, though we were seldom seven successive waking hours separated, I always found new pleasure A friend who was not only a comfort to myself, bat a blessing to the affectionate poor people, among whom I then lived.
Some time after incligation, had thus removed him from the hurry and bustle of life, he was still more secluded by a long indisposition, and my pleasure was succeeded by a proportionable degrec of aoxiety and concern., But a bope, that the God whom he served would support him
under his affliction, and at length rouchsafe him a happy deliverande, never forsook nie. 'The desirable crisis, I trust, is now nearly approach ing. The dawn, the presage of relarning day, is already arrived. He is again enabled to re: some his pen, and some of the first fruits of his recovery are here presented to the public. In his principal sabjects, the same acument which distinguished him in the early period of life, is happily employeds ir ilustrating and enforcing the truths, of which he received such deep and unalterable impressions in his matisrer years. His satire, if it may be called fo$ is benevolent, (like the operations of the skilfef and humane surgeon, who woands only to-heal, y dictated by a jalt
' reu gard for the honour of God and indignant grief excited by the profligacy of the age, and a tender compassion for the souls often the
His favourite topics #te least insisted on in the piece entitled Table Talkt;* which therefore, with some regard to the prevailing taste, and that those, who are governed by it, may not be discouraged at the very threshold from proeceding farther, is 'placed first." In most of the larger Poems which follow, his leading design is more explicitly avowed and pursued. He afins to communicate His own perceptions of the trath, beauty, and inftuence of the religion of the Bibleng religion, which, however discredited by the mise conduct of many, who have not renounced the Chriftidu' namne, proves itself, then rightly un derstood, and cordially embraced, to be the grand desideratum, which alone can relieve the mind of man from painful and unavoidable anxieties, inspire it with stable peace and solid hope, and furnish those motives and prospects, which, in the present state of things, are absolutely necessary to produce a conduct worthy of a rational creature, distinguished by a vastness of capacity, which no assemblage of earthly good can satisfy, and by a principle and pre-intimation of immortality.
At a time when hypothesis and conjecture in philosophy are so justly exploded, and little is considered as deserving the name of knowledge, which will not stand the test of experiment, the very use of the term experimental, in religious concernments is by too many unhappily rejected with disgust. But we well know, that they, who affed to despise the inward feelings, which religious persons speak of, and to treat them as enthusiasm and folly, have inward feelings of their own, which, though they would, they cannpt suppress. We have been too long in the secret ourselves to account the proud, the ambitious, or the voluptuous, happy. We must lose the remembrance of what we once were, before we can believe, that a man is satisfied with himself, merely because he endeavours to appear 60. A smile upon the face is often but, a mask worn occasionally and in company, to prevent, if possible, a suspicion of what at the same time