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may still conscientiously think. If praise could have produced in your mind those bad effects which too frequently attend it, you would long ago have been the victim of its fascination; and I should be much too late, as well as too inconsiderable, to add to its evil consequences.
With regard to the subject of the succeeding Letters, I can only say, Madam, that it is connected in some measure with the leading principles which have been enforced by your writings. It is an important branch of “ christian morals," and forms a distinguishing feature in practical piety:" it is of great importance to the young, whose interests have always been so near your heart, and its adoption would be of essential benefit in that large and elevated class of society, whose “ ners” have received a new impression from your
delineation of them: whilst the
motives from which it ought to proceed, are such as are inculcated in the writings of the great apostle of the Gentiles, and are presented in the pages of the whole of the sacred volume.
That you, Madam, the morning of whose life has been so beneficially, and consequently, so happily employed, may enjoy a calmness of mind, and a peace wbich passeth all understanding,” proportionably increasing as the shades of evening advance around you, is the sincere wish, and shall form the earnest
your very obedient
and devoted servant,
It is to be lamented that the world has been deprived of a considerable portion of useful knowledge and valuable instruction, by men of eminent talents declining to employ them upon homely and practical subjects.
There are but few, comparatively speaking, who possess sufficient information, and are at the same time addicted to that habit of attention and application which is necessary to compose a treatise upon any subject. And of those few, some are prevented by the importunate avocations of business, others are deterred by a diffidence of their own abilities ; while those who can command both time and confidence, generally follow the direction in which their taste has led their genius, or draw from those stores which their profession has compelled them to accumulate.
Thus, while the superiority of some minds almost disdains such topics as afford but little room for the display of their learning or their wit, the particular bias of others entirely overlooks them. The benevolence of Addison, however, happily overcame this literary pride; and to him, together with his coadjutors and his imitators, we are in no small degree indebted for that refinement of manners, and correctness of morals, which distinguish our own country. But notwithstanding our British Essayists have so admirably and so successfully exposed the follies, and censured the vices of their respective cotemporaries, an observer of no extraordinary penetration may still discover in every department of society much to ridicule, and more to reprehend. There being no prying Spectator in the present day to mark the delinquencies of private life, no busy Tatler to report them to the world, and no friendly Guardian to caution the rising generation against their commission; fearing that talents might never stoop to the consideration of so simple a subject as that which occupies the following pages; but at the same time being convinced of its importance, and concerned to find it so generally