« PreviousContinue »
When the editor of this work prepared Dr. Abercrombie's treatise on the Intellectual Powers, for the use of schools, it was his intention to have also prepared the present work in the same way, that the two might furnish teachers with a complete system of metaphysical philosophy. This plan, it was thought, would be conducive to the public benefit, as no school edition of either of these works had then been published. Peculiar circumstances and the pressure of other duties have, however, caused a delay in the preparation of the second volume; but in the mean time the editor has been gratified at receiving assurances from Dr. Abercrombie of his approbation of the plan, and of the course pursued in the preparation of the other work, and this one is prepared from a copy of the latest London edition, sent out by the author expressly for the purpose.
As this work is intended to be the counterpart to the other,-being prepared on the same plan, and to be used in the same way,—the editor has only to repeat here what was stated in respect to that. The original treatise of the author is published entire, without alterations or omissions; the author's language being held sacred. The additions which have been made are intended, not to supply any supposed deficiencies in the
original, but simply to adapt it to a purpose for which the book is in the main admirably suited; they are intended, as nearly as was possible, to be such additional explanations as the editor conceived that the author would have himself made, if he had had in view, while preparing the book, the purpose to which it is now applied.
The practice of studying such a work as this by formal questions, the answers to which pupils commit to, memory, cannot be too severely censured. There seems, kaivover;: to be something necessary as a guide to the contents of the page, both for the pupil in reviewing the.leşson, and for the teacher at the recitation. That minute and familiar acquaintance, not only with the doctrines taught in the lesson, but with the particular contents of every page and paragraph, so essential in enabling the teacher to ask his questions with fluency, very few teachers have the time to secure. The editor has accordingly added an analysis of the page in the margin. This analysis is given, sometimes in questions, and sometimes in topics or titles, which can easily be put by the teacher into the form of questions if he pleases; or what will perhaps be better, they can, at the recitation, be given to the pupil as topics, on which he is to state in substance the sentiments of the author.
PREFACE BY THE AUTHOR.
In a former work, the author endeavored to delineate, in a simple and popular form, the leading facts relating to the Intellectual Powers, and to trace the principles which ought to guide us in the Investigation of Truth. The volume, which he now offers to the public attention, is intended as a sequel to these Inquiries; and his object in it is to investigate, in the same unpretending manner, the Moral Feelings of the Human Mind, and the principles which ought to regulate our volitions and our conduct as moral and responsible beings. The two branches of investigation are, in many respects, closely connected; and, on this account, it may often happen, that, in the present work, principles are assumed as admitted or proved, which, in the former, were stated at length, with the evidence by which they are supported.
He had two objects chiefly in view when , he ventured
upon this investigation. The one was to divest his inquiry of all unprofitable speculation, and to show that the philosophy of the moral feelings bears directly upon a practical purpose of the highest moment, the mental and moral culture of every rational being. The other was to show the close and important relation which exists between