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The kind Entertainment the Town gave to the Lady's Library, the Success it met with, and the great
Call there was for it, even from the most distant Counties, though it was swellid out into three Volumes, and sold at a pretty handsome Price, made me think that a GENTLEMAN'S LIBRARY might be a Copy of no great Hazard to a Bookseller, and make an Edition of particular Use and Service to young Gentlemen coming into the World.
Whatever Advantages we have from Education, from Example, or Precept, on our first Entrance on the Stage of Life, we meet with Accidents and Temptations to withdraw us from Morality, and stand in need of supplemensal Instruction, and a new Di
rector, to confirm us in our Conduct. Views of Pleasure, and Inftability of Humour, lead us into a thousand Inconveniences, against which, we are neither armed by Prudence, Reafon, or Continence:
As to the Precepts contained in this Treatise, I have put them together, according to ny Power, in a Manner that may make them useful and entertaining. To this End, as often as my Memory ferv’d, I have interspers’d them with Quotations in Poetry, Exámples from History, and Axioms that were in Credit with the Sages of Antiquity. The gay Part of the World are fo startled at Morality, when merelysuch, when theythink it is all dry and crabbed, and the whole Volume penn'd for Inftruction, without any Regard to their
Pleasure, that they cannot persuade themfelves to give it a Perusal, or hold
Conversation with a Book, that does not by fome Art infinuate itself to their Fancies, and give them Diversion, to make the Ufe digested: Sed veluti, pueris abfynthia tetra medentes Cum dare conantur, prius oras pocula circum Contingunt dulci mellis flavóque liquore. says Lucretius; as we anoint the Rims of the Cup with Honey to engage Children to drink up the bitter Potion, so I have laboured to humour the Squeamishness of the Times, foften the Harshness of Discipline and Duty, and give them down in a Vehicle that is sweet and palatable : And to be yet the less despotic and magifterial in my Rules, I have all along endeavour'd, rather to recommend than inforce, to counsel than oblige; for as Monsieur Bruyere, with much Modesty, premised to his Book, What I have written is not designed for Maxims; those are like Laws in Morality; and I have neither Genius nor Authority to qualify me for a Legislator.
Demosthenes, in an Oration, to persuade the Athenians not to change any Law upon small and frivolous Pretences, informs us of a Custom which prevaild among the Locrians, That whatever Man should propose to make any new Law, must do it with a Rope about his Neck; which he was to be strangled in, if he did not carry
his Point. This was such a Guard and Defence to the Laws, that they had but one new one
made in more than two hundred Years. Had the prescribing Rules in Morality now stood on the same Terms of Danger, I should have been lefs forward in venturing to give this Assistance: However, I should have evaded the Penalty, because, as I shall anon more particularly observe, I have intruded but very little Novelty : If I have injured the Matter in the Disposition, and discredited good Counsel by an aukward Delivery, I am at the Stake, and must submit to the Censure; but hope the World will not proceed with Rigour on Faults that owe their Being to an Impotence of Judgment, and Want of Power in Nature, to discharge myself with more Sufficiency.