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It is not without much diffidence, that I have ventured to lay before the public a work on this important subject. That something of this sort was needed, has long been universally confessed. My professional duty led me to undertake it; and I trust that the hope of usefulness has induced me to prepare it for publication. If I have not been so happy as to elucidate truth, I have endeavored to express myself in such a manner, that the reader shall have as little trouble as possible in detecting my errors.
And if it shall be found, that I have thrown any light whatever upon the science of human duty, I shall have unspeakable
eakable cause for gratitude to that Spirit, whose inspiration alone teacheth man understanding And my cause for gratitude will scarcely be less, should my failure incite some one, better able than myself to do justice to the subject, to a more successful undertaking.
BROWN UNIVERSITY, April, 1835.
A SECOND edition of the Elements of Moral Science having been demanded, within a much shorter period than was anticipated, I have given to the revisal of it all the attention which my avocations have permitted.
The first edition, owing to circumstances which could not be foreseen, was, unfortunately, in several places, inaccurate in typographical execution. I have endeavored, I hope with better success, to render the present edition, in this respect, less liable to censure. In a few cases, single words and modes of expression have also been changed. I have, however, confined myself to verbal corrections, and have, in no case that I remember, intentionally altered the sense.
Having understood that the work has been introduced, as a text-book, into some of our highest seminaries of education, I hope that I may be forgiven, if I suggest a few hints as to the manner in which I
may be most successfully used for this
1. In the recitation room, let neither instructor nor pupil ever make use of the book.
2. Let the portion previously assigned for the exercise, be so mastered by the pupil, both in plan and illustration, that he will be able to recite it in order, and explain the connection of the different parts with each other, without the necessity of assistance from his instructor. To give the language of the author is not, of course, desirable. It is sufficient if the idea be given. The questions of the instructor should have respect to principles that may be deduced from the text, practical application of the doctrines, objections which may be raised, &c.
3. Let the lesson which was recited on one day, be invariably reviewed on the day succeeding.
4. As soon as any considerable progress has been made in the work, let a review from the beginning be commenced. This should comprehend, for one exercise, as much as had been previously recited in two or three days; and should be confined to a brief analysis of the argument, with a mere mention of the illustrations.
5. As soon as the whole portion thus far recited, has been reviewed, let a new review be commenced, and continued in the same manner; and thus on successively, until the work is completed. By pursuing this method, a class will, at any period of the course of study, be enabled, with the slightest effort, to recall whatever they have already acquired ; and when the work is completed, they will be able to pursue the whole
thread of the argument, froin the beginning to the end ; and thus to retain a knowledge, not only of the individual principles, but also of their relations to each other.
But the advantage of this mode of study is not confined to that of a more perfect knowledge of this or of any other book. By presenting the whole field of thought at one view before the mind, it will cultivate the power of pursuing an extended range of argument; of examining and deciding upon a connected chain of reasoning; and will, in no small degree, accustom the student to carry forward in his own mind a train of original investigation.
I have been emboldened to make these suggestions, not in the least because I suppose the present work worthy of any peculiar attention from an instructor, but simply because, having been long in the habit of pursuing this method, and having witnessed its results in my own classes, 1 have thought it my duty to suggest it to those who are engaged in the same profession with myself. Other instructors may have succeeded better with other methods. I have succeeded best with this.
At the suggestion of some of his friends, the author has it in contemplation to prepare a small abridgment of the present work, in duodecimo, for the use of schools and academies. It will be published as soon as his engagements will permit.
BROWN UNIVERSITY, September, 1835.
The publishers having thought proper to give to the Elements of Moral Science a more permanent form, I have revised the work with all the care that my engagements would allow. In doing this, I have made many verbal alterations; I have modified some paragraphs; some I have transposed, and a few I have added.
I embrace, with pleasure, this opportunity of returning my grateful acknowledgments to those gentlemen who, either privately or through the medium of the press, have favored me with their critical remarks. I have endeavored to weigh their suggestions with all the impartiality in my power. Where I have been convinced of error, I have altered the text. Where I have only doubted, I have suffered it to remain ; as it seemed profitless merely to exchange one doubtful opinion for another. Where, notwithstanding the arguments advanced, my views remained unchanged, I have also contented myself with allowing the text to stand without additional remark. The reasons for so doing may be very briefly stated :-I supposed that those considerations in favor of what I had advanced, which occurred to me, would naturally occur to any other person ; and I seem to myself to have observed that the public really take very little interest in the controversies of authors. A very considerable amount of manuscript, which I had prepared for the purpose of publication, in connection with this edition, I have therefore suffered to lie quietly in my desk. •
Brown University, January, 1837