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state of stupidity and languor. On the other hand, as we are unfortified and restrained mortals, all vehement and forcible action impairs and ruins our organs: therefore we must only use a temperate motion, since by this means the use or excellence of our faculties is reconciled with our first concern—that of self-preservation. Now it is to this blest medium, that the Supreme Author of nature has so judiciously united pleasure. Having confirmed this principle, I shall consider the different pleasures of the senses, those of the intellectual
POWers, and those of the heart. I shall also minutely account for every thing
thought, or prized, beautifuland pleasing in the works of nature and art, in countenances, in colours, and in sounds; in the figure, proportion, symmetry, variation, and novelty of objects ; in language and style; in the sciences, in the passions, in the movements of the soul; in short, in every thing conducive to true and rational happiness.
I shall likewise endeavour to shew, that by these steps we may ascend with ease to a first, intelligent and beneficent, cause, who has established this delightful harmony, and given to us exactly that degree of sensibility
which was most beneficial to our necessities.
I shall here make it my peculiar study to prove, that we find our felicity in the discharge of the several duties we owe to God, our neighbour, and ourselves. Not satisfied to stop here, I shall attempt to reason on the goods and evils appendant to every rank; to shew the superiority of mental blessings; and the advantages, which every one may gain from a proper use of his abilities, so as to make life pleasant and to promote the public good, by an uninterrupted course of rational occupations.
This short analysis will be able to make the reader sensible, that the following sheets aim at containing the genuine principles of natural theology, morality, eloquence, and taste, both with regard to the liberal arts of genius and wit. Here, in a peculiar manner, those who may peruse the following pages may learn the chief end of wisdom, the delightful art of making ourselves as happy, as our present frail state will permit.
As I am compelled by more important motives than the vain desire of eulogy, to submit this composition to the public eye, I hope to find that
indulgence which my sex and reduced circumstances may unaspiringly bid me claim.
It has been my most sincere wish to render this work instructive, by endeavouring to set forth virtue in her most radiant light, and to mark vice with every shade of deformity. For, notwithstanding my present embarrassments, and the partiality I may be allowed to have for my Intellectual Sentiments, I would rather commit it to the flames, than be the instigator of suffusing the cheek of innocence; or vitiate the mind of unguarded youth.