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THE FRIEND.

:

SECTION THE SECOND,

ON THE GROUNDS OF MORALS AND RELIGION, AND THE DISCIPLINE OF THE MIND REQUISITE FOR A TRUE

UNDERSTANDING OF THE SAME.

I know, the seeming and self-pleasing wisdom of our times consists much in cavilling and unjustly carping at all things that see light, and that there are many who earnestly hunt after the publike fame of learning and judgment by this easily-trod and despicable path, which, notwithstanding, they tread with as much confidence as folly : for that, ofttimes, which they vainly and unjustly brand with opprobrie, ouilives their fate, and flourisheth when it is forgot that ever any such as they had being. - Dedication to Lord Herbert of Ambrose Parey's Works, by Thomas Johnson, the Translator, 1634.

THE FRIEND.

ESSAY I.

We cannot but look up with reverence to the advanced natures of the naturalists and moralists in highest repute amongst us, and wish they had been heightered by a more noble principle, which had crowned all their various sciences with the principal science, and in their brave strayings after truth helpt them to better fortune than only to meet with her handmaids, and kept them from the fate of Ulysses, who wandering through the shadės met all the ghosts, yet could not see the queen.-J. H. (John Hall ?) his Motion to the Parliament of England concerning the Advancement of Leurning.

THE preceding section, ending with the second volume, had for its express object the principles of our duty as citizens, or morality as applied to politics. According to his scheme there remained for the Friend, first, to treat of the principles of morality generally, and then of those of religion. But since the commencement of this edition,* the question has repeatedly arisen in my mind, whether morality can be said to have any principle distinguishable from religion, or religion any substance divisible from morality. Or should I attempt to distinguish them by their objects, so that morality were the religion which we owe to things and persons of this life, and religion our morality toward God and the permanent concerns of our own souls, and those of our brethren ;yet it would be evident, that the latter must involve the former, while any pretence to the former without the latter would be as bold a mockery as if, having withholden an estate from the rightful owner, we should seek to appease our conscience by the plea, that we had not failed to bestow alms on him in his beggary. It was never my purpose, and it does not appear the want of the age, to bring together the rules and inducements of worldly prudence. But to substitute these for the laws of reason and conscience, or even to confound them under one name, is a prejudice, say rather a profanation, which I became more and more reluctant to flatter by even an appearance of assent, though it were only in a point of form and technical arrangement.

* The second-Ed.

At a time when my thoughts were thus employed, I met with a volume of old tracts, published during the interval from the captivity of Charles I. to the restoration of his son. Since my earliest manhood it had been among my fondest regrets, that a more direct and frequent reference had not been made by our historians to the books, pamphlets, and flying-sheets of that momentous period, during which all the possible forms of truth and error (the latter being themselves for the greater part caricatures of truth) bubbled up on the surface of the public mind, as in the ferment of a chaos. It would be difficult to conceive a notion or a fancy, in politics, ethics, theology, or even in physics and physiology, not anticipated by the men of that age ;-in this as in most other respects sharply contrasted with the products of the French Revolution, which was scarcely more characterized by its sanguinary and sensual abominations than (to borrow the words of an eminent living poet) by

A dreary want at once of books and men. The Parliament's army was not wholly composed of mere

*

* Wordsworth.

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